By Ken Reed
Rob Manfred is either not taking these cheating scandals seriously or is simply a puppet whose only concern is not getting owners upset with him.
On Wednesday afternoon, the day before the NFL draft was set to begin (nice job burying the story Rob!) Manfred announced his punishment of the Red Sox in Major League Baseball’s latest cheating scandal. He took away Boston’s 2020 second round draft choice and suspended the Red Sox video replay system operator without pay for a year.
That’s it! That’s the entire punishment. No fines for the organization. No player fines or suspensions. No general manager suspension. Alex Cora, the Red Sox manager, had already been suspended for a year for his role in the Houston Astros cheating scandal. Cora was a coach for the Astros in 2017.
J.T. Watkins, is the video replay operator who was suspended by Manfred. He was in charge of supplying Boston hitters with scouting reports and patterns on opposing hitters in 2018. He would furnish Sox batters with pregame information on that day’s opponent. During games, he worked in the video room near the dugout.
MLB rules stipulate that he could not use the video replay system to update his information on opposing players during the game. However, multiple players said Watkins’ reports would change during games as he watched live video. Watkins was apparently updating opponents’ sign sequences in his in-game reports, according to several Red Sox players.
No, this doesn’t compare to the depth and blatant cheating of the Astros scandal, but it also represents the third time in five years the Red Sox have been punished by Manfred for cheating. Now, that seems like a pattern of cheating to me, and certainly provides evidence that the Red Sox have an ethical problem in their culture.
In July 2016, the Red Sox illegally gave inflated signing bonuses to teenage prospects from Latin America. As a result, Manfred declared five Red Sox prospects free agents and the team was prohibited from signing any international amateur players for a year.
During the 2017 season, Boston was fined after MLB found out they were using Fitbits to illegally relay signs during games.
And now we have the 2018 cheating scheme.
The old saying, “Three strikes and you’re out,” clearly doesn’t apply to the Boston Red Sox. Instead, Manfred quietly issued a minor penalty and then announced it in a news cycle dominated by the NFL draft.
For their part, the Red Sox brass claim the franchise’s World Series trophy for 2018 isn’t tainted at all. The Astros claimed the same thing about their 2017 World Series championship.
Well then, if there was no advantage gained, why did both teams feel the need to cheat?
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
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Episode #30 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The State of College Athletics with Dr. David Ridpath: Problems and Potential Solutions – Ridpath is a sports administration professor at Ohio University and a member of The Drake Group, a college sports reform think tank.
Episode #29 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Honorable Tom McMillen Visits League of Fans’ Sports Forum – McMillen is a former All-American basketball player, Olympian, Rhodes Scholar and U.S. Congressman. We discuss the state of college athletics today.
Episode #28 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Chat With Mano Watsa, a Leading Basketball and Life Educator – Watsa is President of PGC Basketball, the largest education basketball camp in the world. We discuss problems in youth sports today.
Episode #27 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Kids’ Sports: How We Can Take Back the Game and Restore Quality Family Time In the Process – Linda Flanagan is author of “Take Back the Game: How Money and Mania Are Ruining Kids’ Sports and Why It Matters.” We discuss how commercialized and professionalized youth sports are hurting kids and their families.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- Reed Appears on Ralph Nader Radio Hour League of Fans’ sports policy director, Ken Reed, Ralph Nader and the New York Times’ Tyler Kepner discussed a variety of sports issues on Nader’s radio show as well as Reed’s updated book, How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan. Reed's book was released in paperback in February, and has a new introduction and several updated sections.
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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