If you have ever taken the time to read my bio on Odyssey or have read a few of my articles, you are familiar with the fact that I am a sports media major and overall just a big fan of professional sports.
In particular, I am incredibly fond of baseball. It has been my favorite sport since I was nine-years-old. Although over the years I have somewhat fallen disconnected from the baseball world and remember players being on teams they have not been a part of in five years, I still keep up with most of the news. I'm trying to get back in the swing of things (haha, baseball puns), and have begun following the teams and watching the standings as closely as I once did.
Big news surrounding the MLB at the moment is the Draft. I was happy during this year's Draft because my beloved favorite team, the Philadelphia Phillies, had the third pick overall. As their third pick in the first round, the Phillies selected third baseman Alec Bohm from Wichita State. Considering Bohm's statistics, with a .317 batting average, 33 home runs, and 125 RBI in 166 games, I was pleased with the selection. In addition, I was especially proud and even relieved with the selection because it has come to my attention in the past month that among the top prospects for the draft is a convicted child molester.
His name is Luke Heimlich, a pitcher from Oregon State. When Luke was 15-years-old, he molested a 6-year-old female relative. At 16, he was arrested and found guilty of the crime. Now, Luke is 22, pitching for Oregon State and has received two consecutive Pac-12 Baseball Pitcher of the Year awards.
There is no doubt that Luke's statistics are great — with a 2.42 ERA, a 15-1 W-L record, and 142 strikeouts — but, do Luke's talents as a pitcher really excuse his disgusting behavior? His repulsive actions may have cost him a career as a pitcher at the Major League level, with none of the 32 teams picking him the first round, even though his numbers certainly qualified him as a top pick.
Now, you would think that the fact that this kid is a convicted child molester would, without a doubt, cost him a career. In my opinion, it should not even be called into question.
Still, there are teams that are quietly discussing selecting him, I'm sure. Over the years, I think we all have noticed a double standard when it comes to athletes vs. 'regular' people. If an athlete has an undeniable talent for a sport, whether it be baseball, hockey, basketball, or especially football, there always seems to be an excuse for their horrendous actions.
But, should teams solely judge on talent and disregard morals entirely?
And since when did being good at a sport put you above the law? I must have missed that part in the Constitution!
This scenario has become all too familiar.
Professional athletes tried for an accusation of domestic abuse, rape, pedophilia, etc., and found guilty should NOT be allowed to continue with their career, regardless of how talented they are. I honestly don't believe it matters at that point how amazing they are at said sport, they should be held accountable for their inexcusable actions.
We also have sports commentators on widely-watched, top-rated sports networks making excuses for these players, and allowing these criminals to be praised and achieve fame, success, and wealth.
Meanwhile, victims get to see their abuser or rapist appear on television, magazines, and Twitter, unaffected by what they afflicted upon them. The victim watches and quietly hopes that one day there will be justice. Not just justice for them, but justice for all victims of abuse, rape or sexual assault, pedophilia, etc.
By still accepting athletes accused or guilty of these heinous activities, we are normalizing them. We are teaching young boys that in order to get away with these types of actions, you simply have to play a sport. That's all it takes. In the process, we are also driving the victims at the hands of these predators away from speaking up. They fear the ridicule, harassment, and demeaning from countless people because they believe their story is not true and that they are lying in order to make money.
Common phrases/excuses you may hear include:
"My son would never do something like that."
"He is a really great guy, he would not do something like that."
"He would be an asset to our team, and probably bring us a championship. He made a mistake and we are willing to give him a second chance."
Abusers, rapists, and pedophiles did not make a 'mistake.' They knew what they were doing. They should be reprimanded for their unforgivable actions and disallowed to fulfill their career as an athlete. They don't deserve to be a star. They don't deserve the money, fame, or success. They deserve to be in jail. They are not above the law.
They don't deserve a second chance. Luke Heimlich does not deserve a second chance. I sincerely hope all thirty-two teams in the MLB feel the same way and make the right decision of not drafting Luke Heimlich. Please don't succumb to what teams before you have done. Do the right thing, please. Move in the right direction. Bring a fraction of justice to the victims.