MLB and its Players Union are expected to ratify a new collective bargaining agreement on Tuesday, which the AP reported will include a new ban on rookie hazing and bullying.
Specifically, the proposal will ban “dressing up as women or wearing costumes that may be offensive to individuals based on their race, sex, nationality, age, sexual orientation, gender identify or other characteristic.”
As you can see in the picture above (from the Red Sox rookies in ’09), MLB teams often force their rookies to dress up in costumes during one of the final road trips of the season. MLB Vice President Paul Mifsud said on Monday that players had complained to the league about the practice.
— Yasiel Puig (@YasielPuig) September 11, 2016
“Although it hasn’t happened, you could sort of see how like someone might even dress up in black face and say, ‘Oh, no, we were just dressing up,'” Mifsud said. “We’ve also understood that a number of players have complained about it.”
Deadspin obtained a copy of the new proposal, which they reported also includes language to ban forced drinking and other hazing practices:
“Players may not engage in a pattern of verbal or physical conduct that is designed to demean, disgrace or cause mental or physical harm to a member of his club.”
After news of the new policy broke, some current and former players took to Twitter to express their thoughts.
“Seriously?!” former Red Sox Kevin Youkilis wrote on Twitter. “Had to wear a Hooters outfit going through customs in Toronto and wore it proudly (because) I was in the Show.”
The MLB noted that not all costumes are outlawed. Super hero get-ups, for instance, are still OK.
“The purpose of this policy is not to prohibit all traditions regarding rookies or players,” the new policy states, “but rather to prohibit conduct that may cause players physical anguish or harm, may be offensive to some players, club staff or fans, or are distracting to the operation of the club or MLB.”
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