Thursday, March 18, 2010

Ron Washington Feedback and Emails

Yesterday, I received about 100 Ron Washington emails regarding his unfortunate developments. The majority of you seemed to either agree or understand my approach to this news that the Rangers should have fired him at that precise moment of his admission. His courage to confess (even though the test results were going to confess for him if he didn't) is admirable, as is his willingness to get help or take all the precautions to make sure this never happens again.

However, he still wouldn't be my manager. As his employer, I would make sure he gets all the help he needs, I would continue to usher him through his journey, but I would absolutely relieve him of his duties as my leader in the clubhouse. Certain jobs require behaviour above reproach, and this is one of them. His job is to make decisions - so if he made this decision, even once - then I must question his ability to make decisions.

Regardless, this hardline approach did not sit well with some of you (which is what this stuff is all about). So, here are the 3 emails of the 100 that took great issue with my stance:

Email #1

Isn’t it relatively common knowledge about Dubya’s struggle with the bottle and powder? Yet he was elected to the freaking Presidency of the United States TWICE!

Bob, I agree with most of what you say. I respect your opinions on sports matters probably more than anyone else on the station. But I do disagree with your earlier analogy about the General and Soldier aspect of the equation. For one, despite their respective places on the organizational totem pole, they’re both employees of the same company, and therefore held to equal standards. I am middle management for the company I work for, but I guarantee you if I fail a UA for blow, the same fate awaits me as it does any of my hourly employees.

They can’t dump Wash. It creates a double standard if they do—and a racial one, at that. Josh gets caught ON FILM, with his shirt off, basically diddling women other than his wife WHILE DRUNK OFF HIS ASS, yet when he’s sincere about his apology and falls back on his faith (a la a Born-Again Dubya), all is well? I know you didn’t make that particular point, but anyone who has been talking about firing Wash is implicitly doing so, whether you mean to or not. And I guaran-damn-tee you that this nugget isn’t lost on the Rangers’ brass: Josh falls off the wagon, and his play SUFFERED last year, yet he’s still a valued member of the organization? But Wash does a little blow, yet keeps his team in contention until September, and now he’s persona non grata?

It doesn’t fly, man.

No matter what you tell yourself to justify it, if they’d cut bait with Wash back in July, it creates a racially-charged PR nightmare in light of the fact that Josh basically became a relatively sympathetic figure. Yeah, he took some flak for it, but he fell back on his faith and the I Am Second nonsense, and eventually he just became part of the happy little Rangers family again. In both Josh’s and Wash’s case, they made horrendous mistakes, showed sufficient and convincing regret, and have (at least up to this point) been retained by the organization. There can’t be any other result, really. And if the media firestorm causes the Rangers to cave and fire Wash, this thing will suffer. I think the players like playing for him. I think this may foster a circle-the-wagons mentality amongst them, ESPECIALLY when they go to places like New York and Boston. Let’s leave this in the hands of Nolan Ryan and Jon Daniels before calling for anyone’s head. It seems that cooler heads prevailed back in July, and it’d be nice to see them prevail now.

Love your show



Thanks for the email and the words. The Josh Hamilton comparison breaks down on a number of levels for me - for one, it is not illegal to be shirtless with women at a bar and drinking. It is illegal, a felony in fact, to have cocaine.

So, here are the differences: 1) Hamilton is a player who used drugs BEFORE he was employed by the Texas Rangers. They knew that, and elected to assume he was on his way to being past that in his life. Washington used cocaine as acting manager of the Texas Rangers. Dubya, as you point out, would have been treated quite differently if he is doing blow in the White House, no? 2) Hamilton is not in a position of authority, and if you don't think that makes a difference, then you are crazy. He is an outfielder, who has no responsibilities other than playing. Washington is the manager of your team. The decision maker of all in-game decisions. The face of your franchise in many regards.

I see nothing racial about this. Not when Roy Tarpley, Michael Irvin, Leon Lett, and many others have sat right where Josh Hamilton sits. Sorry, this is not related. This is about a private in the army or a general. You simply cannot allow a person in a leadership spot to be this reckless.

Email #2

What I am hearing from you, Bob, and you, what I always hear from the ignorant public and trigger-happy press who have unfortunately misunderstood and underestimated a person with the lifetime disease of addiction. You are completely hypocritical. We all make mistakes, yet if you overcome your wrongdoings, you deserve forgiveness. Yet, for's all based on your own personal beliefs which are much stricter than that which you hold for yourself.

Contrary to your misconceptions, Ron Washington is a tried and tested warrior who has battled the war of all wars by fighting...and winning...the battle of addiction. Without a doubt, I would choose Ron Washington as my team's leader everyday of the week and twice on Sunday for having these particular stripes.

You speak as if you are in a perfect world....and those who fall short of your expectations should be immediately executed. Ron Washington's job is NOT based on public scrutiny. It is based on his ability to do his job and do it well. He's already proven himself through the last half of the 2009 season while almost making manager of the year....all while making a mistake, accepting responsibility, and showing that he will not make the same mistake, again.

I urge you not to form judgment merely based on your own limited prejudiced view of addiction and the typical slant that you, the media, spins on people such as Ron Washington. More people than you could ever fathom who occupy high places in our world are also daily survivors of the lifetime battle of addiction....while we, the public, entrust these same people everyday with our jobs, our families, and our lives. It's these particular people who have fought the hardest battle known to man...the battle of addiction. And, they've come out on top.

To be honest, I will always put my life in the hands of a person with these stripes over a person who otherwise has no idea as to the depth of this kind of fight. And, if anything...Ron's transgression last year is a testament to his resiliency and fortitude as a human being and a leader. He made a mistake...just like we've ALL made mistakes. Ron has already proven himself. And, if there is ONE person who knows what it means to win and conquer, it is Ron Washington.

There is no one I would rather want at the Ranger's coaching healm than Ron Washington. If I am hiring a CEO of a company, then I want a veteran general of the hardest fought war; not some number-punching cubical-based office rat without any experience in true trench battle.

You can cast aside Ron for failing your trust. But, who are you to judge? And, what do you base your (mis)trust on? Your doubt in Ron Washington is based on the misunderstanding of the disease of addiction along with your own self-serving opinions of those who are different than you. It's a shame to remove your faith from a man solely based on your own limited personal perception of a disease that is so widely misunderstood by the public.

If you only knew the amount and depth of the fight in Ron Washington, then I guarantee that you would stand by him as one of his greatest fans and supporters. So, please cast aside your own misunderstandings and give Ron a chance.

Or you can simply continue with your archaic misunderstandings of a person with the disease of addiction by giving up on them at the first sign of weakness. I just hope you aren't face with the same problem in anyone of your children. Will they be one-and-done, too?

P1 Will,
Bedford, TX

I guess your email seems to suggest that you think Ron Washington is a recovering addict. Here is his statement : "I know you will ask, and so here's the answer: this was the one and only time I used this drug."

Let's take the extreme high road here and take him at face value at this highly unlikely claim that a 57-year old woke up and decided to risk everything so that he can cross "using cocaine" off of his bucket list.

Years from now, If Ron Washington has put this well behind him and learned from it, I would very much enjoy people learning the lessons he has to tell.

But, he used it last year. He only turned himself in because he was caught. He is in charge of at least one drug addict, and numerous other kids who are being introduced to major league baseball for the first time. We must ask more of our manager than he can provide right now.

I just don't see any wiggle room on this one.

Email #3

Hello Bob,

I heard your segment on Ron Washington today and I have to disagree with you.

First of all, aren't christians supposed to be forgiving and tolerant of others and their mistakes? You came off sounding self righteous with your shoot from the hip reaction calling for the firing of Ron Washington. Let's face it Bob, when it comes to substance abuse, or use, you have no experience am I right? Have you ever done coke? Ever taken a bong hit? Ever been stumbling falling down s---faced drunk? My guess is no. Why stop at firing the guy? Why not press charges? Put him in jail, f--- his life up totally. The team did the right thing, in my opinion and if he blows it again, then let him go.


wow, you raise quite a few issues there, but I couldn't get past your summarizing my religious beliefs.

Let's follow your thread all the way. Does a Christian call the cops if someone breaks into his house? Or is he forgiving and tolerant? How about if his kid is attacked? Where do we draw the line in your view of how it should work?

Is your view of religion one in which nobody ever takes action against a wrong-doer? How about, is a Christian allowed to be a movie, food, or a sports critic, where one makes their living rating things both positively and negatively. Surely a Christian should not be judgmental of a bad meal, right?

Anyway, I obviously did not get very far past your idea that because I believe in God, then surely I should have no problem with a man in authority - whose main job description is making proper decisions - using cocaine recreationally.

I beg to differ.



Anyway, it is the hottest of sports topics, and I don't claim to have all of the right answers - The simple discussion about what makes this different than Tony LaRussa's DUI charges is a fair one. I was asked if I would fire him with no questions asked, and for some reason, I cannot say for sure if I would. But, I can say for sure that I would fire an acting manager if I found out he made a "poor decision" by using cocaine during the season.


Phil K. said...

As there has been some sunlight on this issue, it appears as though HR issues and HIPAA-law protection were the reason behind the confidentiality and possible the reason for NOT firing the guy. That, and JD and Nolan, know Ron and looked him in the eye and made the decision to keep him. I can respect that. I can respect your sentiment on having people "above reproach" making important decisions and any transgression is automatic dismissal.

My problems are these:

1. Where does the buck stop with that line of thinking? If the GM does blow, while under employment, is he out? If the President of the team does blow, is he out? What about the owner? Who kicks her/him out? It's funny how these seem easier to apply further down the chain, don't they? I don't have answers to this; I only ask rhetorically.

2. There is some validity to the disagreement with your stance based upon your evangelical faith world-view. However, the people that have tried to use that against you have missed the mark, I think. As one who grew up going to a Baptist church, every Sunday, and was steeped in that world for so long, I think understand the line of reasoning (I'm still a Baptist but have put the fundamentalism in my rear-view mirror): because of how black-and-white evangelical Christians see the world, they have a hard time with the "grays." They tend to the think life is an either/or proposition. When, in reality, it's often a both/and. I'm merely suggesting that, subconsciously, you wrestle with the idea that my manager can perform the job effectively AND snort a line of coke on occasion. It's a non-starter for you.

Sadly, this is the illusion that we have about our pastors and are always so shocked to find that--wouldn't you know it?--they struggle with vices just like us church-folk.

I say, let right be done, tempered with kindness and love and the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise.

Mike said...


I generally agree, especially about him "manning up" only after he was going to get caught. But I'd like to know how your stance would change under the following scenarios:

1)Wash used during the off-season
2)Firing Wash and making it public would have hindered a sale of the Rangers.

Poser said...

Hey Bob,

I appreciate your firm stance here. Those emails are awfully judgmental. Funny how often someone, while pointing the finger in the name of judgment, commit the very crime they so viscerally accuse you of. These emails are a perfect example of knee-jerk responses (to my point, they accuse you of the very thing). These guys assume you are "corrupt" if you disagree. Not simply that you have a different take on the matter, but that you must somehow be "broken" in your morality. The hubris. I was, as a Christian myself, impacted specifically by the last email, but for a different reason than you mentioned. Your kids? Really? It is exactly that type of narrow minded, short sighted and judgmental approach to life and commentary of it that gets this society in trouble. Everyone who disagrees with you is not broken folks.

The Washington issue is a complex one with many sides, and to assume that you (who probably know less about the situation than a full-time sports talk radio host) have the "right" stance" on the matter is horribly arrogant.

Thank you for posting these for all to see, and congrats on the way that you handled each one.

Joseph said...

Bob, my initial reaction was of the "it's not a big deal" variety. I think you can get by one single incident by itself without a ton of trouble, but if anything else embarrassing comes out, the team is going to look very bad in this. The sticking point here is that he offered up his resignation. Given that, there's really no excuse for keeping him around.

MT said...

Thumbs up to your responses, Bob.

Kenneth said...

I was (at least) one of the people who asked you about La Russa. I don't necessarily disagree with you on either count. However, my point is this: If you are firing Washington for making a poor decision by using cocaine (in season or not), can decision-making get much poorer than getting behind a wheel with too much to drink and endangering just about anyone else driving?

I appreciate your stance Bob, but I just don't see how one is insta-fire and the other is "maybe".

Ron Dodson said...

Your response to email #3 was spot-on. Your applied theology (orthopraxy to use a big word) shows great wisdom. Would love to see more of this from you, perhaps on a different blog.

Ron Dodson

ben8gan said...

Different spin on the story.

Other reports that "disgruntled former employee" blackmailed Rangers...Rudy Jaramilo, anyone?

Jay Beerley said...

I'd like to know for all the people who responded in the negative towards your view if they could just print a list of the felonies that would be and would not be worthy of dismissal. What if it turned out Washington was into child porn?
Something tells me if you work at a place that does drug testing and you blow it, you're gone. A man can be loved and forgiven for his actions. He can also suffer the consequences. They are two different things.