Carlos Delgado Tells Reporters He Still Won't Stand for 'God Bless America'

By: (AP) Carlos Delgado is willing to stand up for his beliefs --- or, in his case, not stand up.

At his introductory news conference today with the Florida Marlins, Delgado said he'll continue to not stand up this season during the playing of "God Bless America."

An opponent of the war in Iraq, Delgado refused to stand when "God Bless America" was played last season at games involving his Toronto Blue Jays. Instead, he would stay on the bench or go into the dugout tunnel.

"I wouldn't call it politics, because I hate politics," Delgado said today after finalizing his $52 million, four-year contract. "The reason why I didn't stand for `God Bless America' was because I didn't like the way they tied `God Bless America' and 9-11 to the war in Iraq in baseball.

"I say God bless America, God bless Miami, God bless Puerto Rico and all countries until there is peace in the world."

Regarding his war protest, Delgado fielded the questions cleanly. Word is he can also hit.

Marlins officials, who gave Delgado the richest per-season contract in the team's 12-year history, made no objection to his war protest.

"The Marlins don't support it, and we don't not support it," team president David Samson said. "He's an adult. The club's position is that what he does is up to him."

During negotiations with the free agent, teams raised the issue of Delgado's stance regarding the Iraq war, said his agent, David Sloane. It wasn't an obstacle to a deal with any club because Delgado was willing to follow team policy regarding "God Bless America," Sloane said.

"He didn't like the politicization of baseball making use of the song," Sloane said. "But he told me, `I will never do anything to place myself above my teammates.' If you have a policy that everybody has to be on the top step, he'll be on the top step."

The Blue Jays had no such policy, and neither do the Marlins.

Even Toronto teammates who disagreed with Delgado accepted his right to refuse to rise for the song. Conine predicted there will be little reaction from Delgado's new teammates.

"That's an opinion of his, and you have to respect that," Conine said. "He's man enough to stand by it. I don't think there's going to be one thing said or one ill thought in the clubhouse."

While Delgado doesn't make a public show of his protest, he was the target of scattered jeers when he played last summer at Yankee Stadium, the only park in the majors where "God Bless America" has been played during every game since the Sept. 11 attacks.

But he said reaction to his stance has been mostly supportive.

"Probably 90 percent of the people I've talked to say they agree with that," he said. "I don't do stuff so people agree with me. But it's always nice to get some sort of support."


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here