On Thursday, Donaldson wrote that Manny Ramirez was wrong to skip the team's trip to Washington, DC -- not so much for the White House ceremony, but for the subsequent visit to Walter Reed Army Medical Center:
[Ramirez] was delighted, upon passing his citizenship test a few years ago, to run out to left field at Fenway waving a small American flag. ... It's easy to wave a flag. What's not so easy is to defend that flag.So Iraq needed to be invaded so baseball players like Manny Ramirez could continue being offered multi-million dollar contracts? Well, that's a rationale I have not heard.
When it came time for payback, to do a little something for servicemen who help make it possible for Ramirez to make as much money as he does, Manny couldn't be bothered. ...
Instead of visiting veterans, some of whom lost limbs in the service of their country, Manny opted to stay in Florida. Even sitting in first class, it could be uncomfortable, not to mention inconvenient, flying for a few hours. Not quite like the discomfort endured by a wounded 19-year-old having to walk with the aid of a prosthetic device for the rest of his life, but, Manny being Manny, it's doubtful that thought ever crossed his self-centered mind. ...
[T]urning his back on hospitalized veterans?
That's inexcusable and unforgivable.
It's also Manny, being Manny.
First of all, I have no idea why Manny decided to stay in Florida. I don't know what he thinks about any political issue -- if he's ever has spoken out, I've forgotten about it. However, I think it's more than a coincidence that he has skipped both White House trips. My guess? Manny doesn't like Bush.
But here's my point (and why this post is actually more about the media): Suppose I'm right. How would Donaldson react if Manny, after touring Walter Reed, gave an impassioned statement about how he believed Bush was solely to blame for the missing arms and legs and eyes of these men and women? What if he had said, to borrow some of Donaldson's own words,
I'm grateful that I have been able to live a blessed life in this country -- you remember when I carried a little flag out on the field after I became a citizen -- but these servicemen -- they thought they were defending their country -- but there was no threat. They have been exploited and used by their government and I think it's horrible that they are the only ones that have had to pay a price for their country's mistakes.Would Donaldson rush to his typewriter to wax patriotic that Ramirez was exercising his right of free speech -- a right that Donaldson, judging from this column, believes is being defending in Iraq?
I doubt it. Direct and implied praise for the war is quoted by sportswriters without comment, or with admiration. A statement such as what I wrote above -- while also expressing a political opinion, albeit one from the other side of aisle -- would likely ignite a firestorm.