Quick question: If someone where you worked made vulgar homophobic taunts to a group of customers, what would happen?

What if that same person then made lewd suggestive gestures towards a family of customers who had been offended by his comments and then threatened physical violence, what would have happen?

That would likely be in violation of your company’s values and culture, be bad business; they would be gone; fired with cause.

Not so with my hometown Atlanta Braves.   Team President John Schuerholz is quoted as saying, “The Atlanta Braves organization prides itself on being one that values integrity, diversity, professionalism and respect…” and he then abdicated his responsibility to discipline his errant employee leaving it up to Major League Baseball.

Baseball is a business.  Pitching Coach Roger McDowell’s response to being heckled reflects poorly on the game of baseball in general and the Atlanta Braves in particular.  He violated what Schuerholz claims to be the team’s (read: company’s) values.

Does the name John Rocker ring a bell?

Rocker’s rant was featured in Sports Illustrated and he, not the game, became the focus wherever the Braves played that year.  You would have thought an organization “that prides itself on being one that values integrity, diversity, professionalism and respect” would have learned its lesson.

McDowell, a former major league pitcher, hurled his slurs and made his threats in a public arena, yet cowardly apologized in a written statement.

The decision as what to do should have never ended up in Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig’s lap. McDowell is an employee of the Braves. Either Schuerholz or General Manager Frank Wren, one or the other, should have seized the initiative and shown that the values the organization’s claims really do mean something and fired McDowell.

Now a show boating attorney who has never seen a TV camera she didn’t love is getting involved and the circus begins.

Ironically, another former major league pitcher, years ago, had a pithy quote appropriate to the occasion.  Former Pittsburgh Pirate pitcher Vernon Law said, “Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first and the lesson afterwards.”

The Braves have now failed two tests: John Rocker and now Roger McDowell.

When will they learn the lesson?