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Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Elijah Dukes is not quite as noble as we thoughtI felt that the $500 fine levied on Elijah Dukes for being a couple of minutes late to Saturday's game against the Marlins as a result of signing autographs for Little Leaguers was pretty lame. Sure, Dukes technically broke a rule, and sure he's a guy you want to give a shorter leash than many, but he was giving back to the community and all of that, right? Well, kinda:
Dukes, who was paid $500 for his appearance, signed autographs, watched the parade of teams and spoke to the players for about a minute. He then sprinted to his car and headed to the ballpark, the Post reported.
Dukes charged the Little Leaguers $500?! Is this normal? Even if it is, doesn't this change our sympathy calculus a bit? What if he was at a baseball card show? Sure, the money would have been different, but he's still essentially out there making a buck as opposed to feeding the homeless or something. In fact, now that I think about it more, I think that Dukes should definitely be paying his $500 fine in the interests of balance. Indeed, he should pay it to the Little Leaguers!
But he won't pay the fine himself. The Great Falls Little League, where he was speaking prior to the game, says it will pay it for him after a fundraising effort, according to The Washington Post.
If Dukes accepts this money, in effect doubling his dubious appearance fee, there will be no words that can sufficiently describe the sheer fail on his part.
(Thanks to MooseinOhio, who not only sent me the link, but who made the above point too. Get me, I'm a bigger ripoff artist than Dukes).
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 2:50pm
You got this all wrong.
Where was it ever stated he charged $500 to make an appearance? He didn’t. He showed up free, and was fined $500 by the Nationals for showing up late to the game.
Research your facts before you start making assumptions about Elijah Dukes. IIRC, this is the ONLY article I’ve read so far that hasn’t stated he showed up for free.
Posted 04/22 at 07:02 AM
Craig Calcaterra said...
Joe: the linked article specifically said “Dukes, who was paid $500 for his appearance”
I blockquoted that part, I didn’t make it up myself. If you want to take issue with that assertion, take it up with ESPN.
Posted 04/22 at 07:11 AM
Dukes is entitled to an appearance fee if the Little League is willing to pay it. But many athletes do small-scale charity events for free. The bigger issue, from my perspective, is that Dukes seemed to handle the situation just right. He was gracious at the event and stayed longer than he’d promised—even at the risk of a fine from the Nationals.
Posted 04/22 at 08:00 AM
I guess for me the issue was more that a major leaguer was accepting money to speak to little leaguers at a local event. I understand appearnance fees and covering travel costs but this was at a local event so why does a little league need to pay a player to spend some time inspiring kids.
Apparently my assumption that visits such as these or to the local hospital were just considered part of the gig when a professional athlete. My intent was not to pick on Dukes specifically but to question why a major leaguer needs to accept money to spend a little time with some little leaguers.
To me this type of visit qualifies as charity work and is done for free. Maybe my definitions of charity and charity work are just different.
Posted 04/22 at 09:09 AM
Posted 04/22 at 09:21 AM
No offense taken Hank and I understand your point that there are lots of folks out there who are quick to criticize while ignoring their own shortcomings. As for my commitment level for such work - it is probably higher than most folks but could still be better. I suspect that if you ask the folks that know me the hypocrite label you are describing would not apply.
Posted 04/22 at 09:38 AM
As far as I know Jimmy Rollins, Dan Haren and Prince Fielder only do stuff with the kids when there is a film crew around. I don’t know. If not for being ‘late’ to batting practice nobody outside of that town would have ever known anything about what Dukes was doing. Whether he was paid or not he is trying.
Posted 04/22 at 10:27 AM
I really don’t think this should be a bid deal and we really shouldn’t be judging the guy based on this. I highly doubt he called the Little League team on his own accord and said, “Hey guys! I’ll sign autographs for 500 bucks!” Most likely the team contacted him, asked if he would make an appearance and told him $500 was the standard offer, and he agreed to it. Let’s not sit here and judge a guy for something this stupid. I know Dukes has has a pretty ugly past, but he’s been pretty quiet for about a year now. Give the guy a chance to live his life. If he sends another threatening text message to his ex-wife, then we can talk about what a sleazy thing he did. OK?
Posted 04/22 at 11:20 AM
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