While baseball has long been America's greatest pastime, it has not always been known as a paragon of racial acceptance. This week the baseball commissioner underscored the renewal of a commitment to zero-tolerance on not just racial discrimination, but also on sexual orientation. The statement took place during a key week for baseball, at the halfway mark of the season and celebrates the Home Run Derby and All-Star's Game.
The hallmark of the sport, according to Bud Selig, the Major League Commissioner, has been diversity. He went on to announce a new code of conduct designed to confirm that stance. The commissioner added that this is a logical extension of that acceptance which began when Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947, commemorated recently in the film "42," released to coincide with the start of baseball season in April of this year.
Selig announced that Robinson's tenacity changed the game of baseball and altered the rules forever in developing sensitivity and protection of players, present and future.
While major league baseball may be pioneering changes in attitude and actions modeling sensitivity to players' race, color, and sexual preferences, not all walks of life or places of employment reflect this commitment to bring people together. Yet many Americans look towards professional teams and athletes with respect and their children come to idolize these professionals.
Attitudes on inclusion and tolerance do not take priority in many places of employment. Like MLB, many workplaces do not strive to provide beliefs that every person should be guaranteed a workplace free of discrimination, and managed by informed supervisors. Like MLB, employers do not encourage its management to design and distribute training materials that start at the moment of hire and continue, requiring managers to be involved in training sessions.
If this sounds like your place of employment, you may be suffering a violation of your basic civil rights. If your company does not model positive behaviors for inclusion of religious, sexual or racial differences, you are encouraged to consult with an expert on employment law who can advise you about making sure your workplace discrimination laws are not violated.
mlb.com, "MLB strengthens opposition to discrimination" Paul Hagen, Jul. 16, 2013