By: E&P Staff
William C. Rhoden’s column in The New York Times, revealing that Toronto Blue Jays slugger Carlos Delgado always sits in the dugout during the playing of “God Bless America” as an antiwar protest, was such a scoop that not even baseball commissioner Bud Selig knew what the columnist was talking about.
Today, newspapers around the country carried the news, but Rhoden had it nearly to himself on Wednesday. The Toronto Star, and a handful of smaller U.S. papers, had written about it previously, but Rhoden blew the story sky high. When Delgado’s team played the New York Yankees last night, he was greeted with some booing and chants of “USA, USA,” but local papers today noted that it was not severe, at least partly because Delgado was taken out of the game just before the usual playing of “God Bless America” during the 7th inning.
Delgado, a perennial All-Star, has called the Iraq conflict “the stupidest war ever.” A Yankee fan was quoted in the papers saying this was a slap in the face to every New Yorker and American.
Like Rhoden’s column, much of today’s coverage was favorable or neutral, with some standing up for Delgado’s right to protest, even if many disagreed with his views.
Steve Wilstein, an Associated Press sports columnist, for example, came to Delgado’s defense, saying he was “simply exercising the most fundamental of our rights, freedom of speech, or more accurately in this case, freedom to sit silently while his teammates stand on the dugout steps.”
Delgado has said, “It takes a man to stand up for what he believes.”