Chris Sale Cut Up Throwback Jerseys, Got Suspended To Make Statement
Chris Sale, a pitcher for the Chicago White Sox, was recently suspended by his team for protesting a front office decision making the players wear special jerseys that he felt would affect his on-field performance.
It’s a stance that more athletes might need to take.
Chris Sale was set to take the mound for the Chicago White Sox over the weekend at home against the Detroit Tigers. Fans showed up at the ballpark thinking Sale would start. They instead saw Matt Albers throw the first pitch of the game. Why the change in pitchers? Sale got into an argument with White Sox manager Robin Ventura and at least one member of the team’s front office over the jerseys the team was scheduled to wear. Sale preceded to go into the locker room while the rest of the team was on the field taking batting practice and cut up not just his own jersey, but also several of his teammates’ jerseys.
Sale has since apologized for the incident and his actions, well at least partially. He explained his actions by saying he was frustrated with the team’s decision to wear the throwback jerseys when he felt his throwing motion would be affected by it and thus affect his performance and his team’s chance of winning. Sale had originally complained about these 1976 throwback jerseys way back in Spring Training. He called out manager Robin Ventura for not being supportive of his players.
The issue with the 1976 Chicago White Sox throwback jersey Sale was asked to wear wasn’t necessarily the ugliness of it. The jerseys were unique in the fact that they feature butterfly-like collars and are meant to be worn untucked. Luckily, the 2016 White Sox weren’t asked to wear the shorts with the tops that the 1976 team wore.
The Chicago White Sox aren’t the first team to trot its players out in a uniform to promote its sale in the gift shop. They also won’t be the last. You could argue that athletes are paid to play a game and shouldn’t worry about what they are asked to wear. Chris Sale is being paid $9.15 million this year and is scheduled to make $12 million next season. Chris Sale will also pay a large percentage of that money in taxes and is part of the reason Major League Baseball brought in almost $9.5 billion in 2015.
It’s one thing to dress hard-working athletes like clowns, as Ralph Lauren likes to do with our Olympic athletes. It’s another to put them in outfits that make them uncomfortable and keep them from performing at their highest level, like NBA jerseys with sleeves or the dresses Nike had female tennis players wear at Wimbledon.
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