We are approaching the 10-year anniversary of the infamous comments made by racist, assclown pitcher John Rocker. It has been nearly a full decade since Rocker, then an Atlanta Braves relief pitcher, went on one of the most famous racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-immigrant screeds in history. Rocker holds a multitude of ignorant views not dissimilar to many white men his age from the South. What brands him as a racist for all-time is that he expressed those views and went on a series of tirades in front of a reporter. A good reporter.
In 1999, Sports Illustrated sent Jeff Pearlman to write a feature on Rocker. While riding around in a car, Rocker made several observations about the city of New York which he was stupid enough to tell a reporter. Among them, claiming he would quit baseball if he was ever traded to a New York team:
“I would retire first. It’s the most hectic, nerve-racking city. Imagine having to take the [Number] 7 train to the ballpark, looking like you’re [riding through] Beirut next to some kid with purple hair next to some queer with AIDS right next to some dude who just got out of jail for the fourth time right next to some 20-year-old mom with four kids. It’s depressing.”
“The biggest thing I don’t like about New York are the foreigners. I’m not a very big fan of foreigners. You can walk an entire block in Times Square and not hear anybody speaking English. Asians and Koreans and Vietnamese and Indians and Russians and Spanish people and everything up there. How the hell did they get in this country?”
Even worse, Rocker referred to Braves teammate Randall Simon as a “fat monkey.” Simon is black. Rocker also mocked Asians and called a woman “a bitch” in the article. He even complained about having to give a speach to hearing impaired children.
Think Don Imus was offensive? In one car ride, Rocker managed to offend African-Americans, gays, women, immigrants, children, the handicapped, and everyone in New York. Rocker became a cultural pariah once the article hit newsstands. Jay Leno used to have guests hit a John Rocker dummy with a baseball bat during the height of the controversy. When Rocker made his return to New York, the city had to assign 700 police officers to the Mets/Braves game.
The controversy eventually died down but the SI piece ended up defining both Rocker and Pearlman. Rocker flamed out as a pitcher and was soon out of baseball. Pearlman became a famous and much sought after investigative reporter and writer.
Pearlman recently wrote about the anniversary of the Rocker story on his website. He points out that far from “tricking” Rocker, he simply profiled him accurately. Rocker has since revealed himself as a bigot on multiple occassions. He once called a radio host a “jew faggot.” He also began a “Speak English” campaign. Rocker even has a “Speak English” website which caters to racists. If you don’t think Rocker’s a racist you can check out his views on “minorities.”