- The Washington Times - Friday, June 23, 2000

John Rocker plans to ride the No. 7 train to Shea Stadium next week.

New York City is treating this as a threat.

Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani is encouraging Rocker's employer not to let the ride happen.

The city cannot guarantee the safety of Rocker and his antagonists.

Coincidentally, safety is the city's leading issue at the moment, headed by the Rev. Al Sharpton, who believes the police have become too politically correct.

The police apparently did not have the stomach to hurt the self-esteem of those males invigorated by a recent Puerto Rican Day parade.

The testosterone-fueled figures, in their excitement, wound up assaulting more than 40 women in Central Park.

The police looked the other way, undoubtedly figuring that it was a cultural thing and they didn't understand. If they had interrupted the groping and robbing, they might have been accused of racial insensitivity. The Rev. Al, who works all ends as long as there is a camera around, would have done the accusing, too.

Who needs the aggravation?

Pass the box of doughnuts.

But now the Rev. Al, who has no liars to defend and no stores to burn, is accusing the police of being soft on crime, if only around minorities, and he is aligned with at least two victims who have filed a $5 million lawsuit against the New York Police Department.

Fortunately, the New York police still enforce the law if you're Irish, drunk and want to fight. They don't call them the Fighting Irish in South Bend, Ind., for nothing, and nothing against the Czech-Irish redhead who shares a residence with this space.

Rocker, portrayed as a redneck in the news media, has made another mess. He should be used to it by now, considering his earned run average and lack of control with his mouth and pitches.

Rednecks are one of the few groups that don't receive protection from the politically correct. Jerry Springer's trailer-park crowd is another. This is not a hypocrisy thing. This is a sophistication thing.

Rocker may have a hard time claiming a seat on the No. 7 train if he winds up in Richmond, home of the Braves' Class AAA affiliate.

The Braves have a long-standing relationship with the old capital of the South, which is a potential boycott for another time, perhaps after the flap over the Confederate flag in South Carolina is resolved.

Richmond is not a bad place to pass on Interstate 95, but you wouldn't want to be caught snapping a photograph of the statues honoring the Confederacy's heroes along Monument Avenue.

The Braves usually limit their insults to the red man. They don't mean to be offensive. The tomahawk chop is a sign of respect, intended to venerate the first hair-transplant specialists in America. Apologies are unnecessary.

The playing field is hardly level.

Rocker apologized a zillion times during spring training after he discovered how out of touch he was with the rest of America.

Before his reeducation, Rocker objected to the riders he might find on the No. 7 train, specifically "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."

Now he knows better and wants to reach out to those passengers on the No. 7 train.

That could be difficult, if not impossible, considering all the cholesterol-reeking reporters who will be taking up space to record this significant moment in history.

Maybe Rocker and the reporters, as well as the "dude out of jail for the fourth time," can join hands and sing, "We are the world."

People are people, and really, it's not nice to impose your arbitrary standards on others.

Hopefully, one of these days, all Americans will be enlightened enough not to pass judgment on a "dude out of jail for the fourth time."

In a better world, maybe you feel his pain. Maybe you give him your wallet, too.

Rocker is working to change his narrow-minded views. Give him that.

He wants to ride the train that started it all.

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