COMMENTARY | Without baseball to occupy his time, retired Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones has begun auditioning for a second career as an armchair quarterback. On Wednesday, Jones took to Twitter to do his best to anger half of the country with his views on the situation regarding disgraced University of Rutgers head basketball coach Mike Rice.
Rice was fired earlier this week after video surfaced of him using homophobic slurs and firing basketballs at the heads of his players during various practices.
Jones said, via his Twitter account, "I got cursed at and called names by a ton of people growing up. Were they fired? Nope! Do I care? Nope! What's the big deal? Toughen up!"
Chipper came back later and tweeted, "Yeah, been hit w/ bball equipment on purpose, been dragged around a football field by my facemask and ran suicides til I puked! I ain't mad."
Jones was back at it again on Thursday when he defended his remarks in a series of tweets. The retired Braves' slugger said, "Apparently mine and some people's views of what verbal and physical abuse is, differs. That's ur right. This is my twitter account…If some of u thought my tweets were insensitive, I'm sorry u feel that way. I was brought up differently in the ways to be motivated."
This is probably the quintessential case of a player being exactly right in their view, but wrong in thinking they could voice it without being persecuted for doing so. I'm not sure there is anyone who was brought up playing organized sports who did not face verbal tirades from red-faced coaches, or have to dodge the occasional whistle, clipboard or rouge piece of sporting equipment every now and then. But what should we make of the kind of laissez-faire attitude from older players like Chipper Jones. Is this a case of the younger generation being coddled and needing to "toughen up," or should coaches be expected to motivate their players with something other than fear?
Rice assuredly deserved to be fired for his actions, but this situation was magnified considerably by the video showing multiple incidences back-to-back-to-back. As isolated events, many may have shrugged it off as tough coaching at a Division 1 university, however, as a repetitive series of shots, it becomes harder to abide. I'm sure Bobby Knight is just glad smartphones were not invented during his time at the University of Indiana.
Aside from the hot button sporting news of the day, Chipper regularly tweets about his former club. Jones said of Thursday night's Atlanta Braves vs. Philadelphia Phillies game, "Lookin forward to watching the braves game tonite. Best pitching matchup of the series. Hope the rain holds off. Send a message Bravos!"
Follow Chipper Jones on Twitter @RealCJ10.
Anthony Schreiber is a freelance sportswriter based in "Braves Country." He has penned articles for a variety of online publications and magazines.
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