- The Washington Times - Friday, January 7, 2000

John Rocker has been told to see a shrink after he objected to "a kid with purple hair, a queer with AIDS, a dude out of jail for the fourth time and a 20-year-old mom with four kids."

Bud Selig, baseball's leading wimp, is hoping the mental health community can help Rocker understand the error of his thinking.

"Mr. Rocker's recent remarks made to a national magazine reporter were reprehensible and completely inexcusable," Selig said yesterday.

They were that.

This is a new day, a new century, and most parents are overjoyed when their kid comes out of the bathroom with purple hair. Purple hair is better than the honor roll.

If your kid has purple hair, that usually means the kid is different, which is a good thing unless the kid brings a gun or a bomb to the local high school, in which case the kid is a nut, and in the aftermath, all the experts, including the shrinks, wonder what the parents were thinking after the kid came out of the bathroom with purple hair.

But how were the parents to know that the purple hair was the kid's cry for help?

There is so much contradictory information out there.

Rocker, for one, does not like purple hair, and he undoubtedly would have a huge problem if his kid ever adopted the purple-hair look. Rocker undoubtedly would give his kid all the help that would be necessary. But now, oddly, Rocker is the one who needs the help, not the kid with purple hair, and people, I just want to say, can we can we all get along?

Rocker is not ready for the new century, and the purple hair is the least of it.

He apparently is not comfortable around gays with AIDS, rehabilitated criminals and 20-year-old women with four children, which is too bad for him. In an enlightened America, gays with AIDS, rehabilitated criminals and 20-year-old women with four children add to this nation's diversity.

Diversity is good, not bad, and hopefully, Rocker will learn that from his caretakers in the mental health field.

Not everyone can be a cross-eyed, big-league pitcher, and that's not to find fault with cross-eyed people. Being cross-eyed is wonderfully diverse, too. It's just too bad the fashion industry does not employ more cross-eyed models than it does.

America likes to celebrate its diversity, and to help Rocker out, that includes gays with AIDS, rehabilitated criminals and 20-year-old women with four children.

Rocker is speaking to the wrong America. There was an America at one time that might have nodded in approval at Rocker's words. But that was a judgmental America, a hateful America, an America that would have disapproved of a woman with four children by her 20th birthday. That was a misguided America, like Rocker.

Just when you think the country has come a long way, there is someone like Rocker to show you otherwise. If only all of America's daughters, with NOW's consent, of course, could have four children by their 20th birthday, we would be stronger and richer for it.

Rocker's contempt for the criminal element is equally sad. He ignores a person's capacity to change. You could be out of jail for the fourth time, as Rocker puts it, and then, just like that, decide to enter McDonald's management-trainee program.

Rocker, though, is unable to see the big picture, only the sign from the catcher 60 feet 6 inches away.

He has been the subject of a national outcry, and now his brain is scheduled to be dissected. His comments have been termed "vicious and bigoted" by, among others, New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

Judging by the reaction to Rocker's comments, including in the national press, America either has a lot of pretentious phonies or a new set of family values.

Amusing as the fallout is, Rocker merely was trying to renew his verbal sniping with the New York fans. He probably thought he was being funny. Instead, he showed he is just a ballplayer, not a stand-up comic, and besides, cracking on New York's subway riders is old material.

Being dumb, if Rocker qualifies, is hardly worthy of Selig's attention and the threat of disciplinary action. The dumb, like it or not, add to America's diversity, too.

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