The Atlanta Braves had a double whammy this week. As I wrote yesterday, two of their employees -- pitching coach Roger McDowell and pitcher Derek Lowe -- are in hot water. McDowell got into a verbal fight with fans and is accused of hurling insults, including some that are homophobic. Lowe was arrested and charged with DUI after police say they saw him racing on a street.
The Braves obviously have to figure out how to handle the discipline in these cases. But somehow they have taken two different tacks. McDowell was placed on administrative leave a day after the incident. For Lowe, the Braves are going to wait until the case is decided in the courts.
I don't know if the players association has a say in such cases, but it seems odd that while McDowell is sidelined during the investigation, Lowe will keep on pitching. Maybe the Braves are more sensitive to the McDowell case in the light of Kobe Bryant's recent fine for uttering a gay slur during a playoff game.
It seems to me , though, that Lowe's DUI arrest should keep him off the field, even if it is on the vague "administrative leave" given to McDowell.
Baseball can't have forgotten that was only two years ago that a promising Angels pitcher, Nick Adenhart, was killed by a drunken driver in the hours after a game. It's important that baseball send a message that it takes drunken driving seriously.
On a side note, I always find it interesting and not a little mystifying to see players "apologize" when they are arrested, but then continue to take the field. I's hard to know exactly what Lowe, and others in his position, are apologizing for. Are they sorry for their behavior? Sorry they got caught? Or sorry they are being asked about it?