Nats Officials Say Scrutiny Bryce Harper Faces Is Similar to Jackie Robinson
Bryce Harper has become a punching bag here at LBS because of his questionable on-field behavior. His arrogance on the field includes actions such as showing up umpires and blowing kisses at opponents. It got so bad we had to sack him with the LBS Nut Bag.
Thing is, the scrutiny Harper has received is the result of appearing on the cover of Sports Illustrated at age 16 (his parents’ fault), and his poor behavior. Simply put, only he and his family is responsible for being a disliked public figure, not anyone else. That’s what makes the references in a Sports Illustrated article so insulting.
As The Washington Post points out, two Nationals officials compared the level of scrutiny Bryce Harper faces to what Jackie Robinson went through.
From Nationals Director of Player Development Doug Harris:
“This is really unfair and it’s totally different, but if I can make a comparison to one guy that has been scrutinized like this, it would be Jackie Robinson. And it’s unfair because it was a different standard. He was under a microscope in an era when we didn’t have Internet, didn’t have cellphones. Now, Jackie Robinson had his life threatened. I’m not comparing Bryce to that. But as far as nonstop scrutiny? Absolutely. Day to day.”
From Minor league coach Tony Tarasco:
“Jackie Robinson. You have to go back to Jackie Robinson to find anybody who goes through this much scrutiny. It wasn’t like this for [Stephen] Strasburg. Wasn’t like this for Alex Rodriguez.”
Harris, Tarasco, please recognize that the reason it’s like this for Bryceis because HE chose to be on the cover of SI at 16, HE chose to skip high school for junior college, HE chose to wear a pink tie and mohawk to standout at his introductory press conference, and because HE chose to insult opposing players and umpires.
Jackie Robinson was a victim of a racist country and dealt with threats against his life on a daily basis. People wanted him to fail because they did not want to see a black player succeed.
People want to see Bryce Harper fail because they don’t like arrogant jerks to be rewarded with success. As I’ve said in the past, there is still room for the public to like Harper, but it will require a change in his behavior. It sounds like that’s something he’s trying to do.
In the SI article, Harper acknowledged that he exhibited a conceited attitude in the past. “I think maybe when I was younger I did, coming out of high school. My mentality was, Hey, I’m better than you,” Harper said. “Better than everybody in the world…. Thing is, if you don’t have that mentality, you’re not going to perform. When you step in that batters’ box, you have to know you’re better than that pitcher.”
That’s fine. If Harper shows he’s humble, I can learn to accept him, but as long as he continues to be conceited, I won’t like him. The one thing I will say is that I won’t dislike him because Harris and Tarasco involved him in a mind-numbingly stupid comparison. For the first time that Bryce Harper has been criticized, the responsibility belongs to someone else.