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Derek Lowe’s DUI adds to off-field worries for Braves: A fan’s reaction
As an Atlanta Braves fan, the arrest of star opening day pitcher Derek Lowe for DUI could hardly come at a worse time.
The Braves are just now dealing with the fallout from pitching coach Roger McDowell's homophobic slurs and crude actions in San Francisco, all the while trying to remain upbeat after a 6-4 road trip that has Atlanta back to playing .500 ball.
Neither the McDowell incident or Lowe's arrest are issues the Braves haven't dealt with before. McDowell's actions bring to mind the infamous (and idiotic) John Rocker, a hard-throwing and empty-headed closer who Atlanta allowed to linger on the team too long after making a lot of insensitive comments. Lowe's DUI is reminiscent of the Braves problems with Rafel Furcal, who managed two DUIs during his tenure with the team.
However, the Rocker and Furcal problems didn't happen literally days on top of each other. Suddenly, the Braves, who want to focus on getting back to playing winning baseball under new manager Freddie Gonzales, have a slew of off-field questions to answer and a lot of national attention for the wrong reason.
The way out of this is simple: the Braves must demonstrate that they will not tolerate this behavior from their highly-paid athletes and coaches. Frankly, McDowell, who has been placed on administrative leave, should be fired because his actions are part of a pattern of insensitivity and inappropriate behavior long known to Braves fans from him. Roger McDowell is a decent pitching coach but his childish antics have flown under the radar for too long, and now the club just needs to ditch him.
Lowe should receive a club suspension. That is a proactive way of dealing with the issue before the league has too. Of course, Lowe is in a better position to appeal such an action than McDowell as Lowe has a very activist union and a guarantee of some due process in such matters. But that's fine as well, as it puts the pressure back on Derek to man up and just accept his punishment, which he should.
Meanwhile, the entire team needs to concentrate on playing winning ball again and realize the microscope will be on them for a while. Anti-gay slurs and drag racing drunk are examples of totally avoidable behavior for men getting paid a pretty penny to do their jobs.
The Atlanta Braves need to pull together and walk the line, and get back to giving us a season worth watching for baseball only.
Jeffrey Weeks is a lifelong Atlanta fan who was born in Athens, Georgia and grew up watching the Braves.
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