Sunday, March 27, 2016

Publishing & Sports Must Protect Those Accused of Crimes

The world is filled with conflicts, contradictions, and dual ethics.  Case in point:  Major League Baseball handed down a 30-game ban (about 18% of the season) to a relief pitcher on the Yankees, Aroldis Chapman, for an incident that never led to criminal charges.  Domestic violence proponents might say baseball didn’t go far enough, while others like me believe such a penalty should never be implemented.

It’s true that professional athletes have forever behaved poorly off the field, getting into barroom fights, succumbing to addictions, driving while under the influence, cheating on spouses, and committing abuse against women—and sometimes children.  I don’t excuse nor condone such behavior but I don’t like the idea that a profession or employer can step in as a substitute for the criminal justice system.

Can you imagine if a publisher decides to yank a book off the store shelves for 30 days because he or she was involved in an altercation with a significant other?

The justice system needs to be improved but I defer to it to determine punishment for criminal offenses.  If it locks someone up, that’s the punishment.  Community service and a fine?  That’s the punishment.  The NFL or a publisher should not thrust themselves into the debate as the morality police.

The media has that job.  Let the media spew about the alleged villains among us.  Let sports fans decide if they’ll root for someone and let readers decide if they will buy a book written by someone not even charged with a crime.

The pitcher will forfeit 1.856 million dollars.

To me, the fact that a sports league independently investigated and concluded the player did something wrong, means that the criminal system did something wrong.  If he did something, such as act violently, why isn’t the court system charging him?  The police didn’t even have enough evidence to see if a jury could be convinced of wrong-doing.

If you conclude that what he did wasn’t breaking the law, then what did he do that was so bad?  You can’t have it both ways and say, “Well, though what he did was not technically a crime, he should be punished for his actions.”  Why?  Where does it end when it comes to an employer imposing its sense of morality?

I would shutter if publishers begin to cancel publishing contracts or remove books from stores simply because an allegation of bad behavior is made. If the police investigate and don’t prosecute, or if they do and the defendant is exonerated, should any further action be taken by the book world?

It’s a murky system, to seek to impose a standard where none exists.  Exactly which offenses must occur for a league or employer to take action?  What should the penalty be for each offense?

Don’t misunderstand me.  I believe domestic violence should be punished – by the law – not by private businesses.  I especially feel that a league should not act if the courts won’t.  And if the courts act, we don’t need to doubly penalize the athlete or writer by adding in additional penalties.

The only time a league or publisher should impose a penalty is when the offensive action directly relates to the industry one is involved in.  For instance, if a player takes a steroid, in violation of league rules, punish him or her.  Additionally, if the steroid was taken illegally, toss his ass in jail too!

If a writer punches his editor in the face or is proven to have plagiarized his book or shows up to a book signing intoxicated, take action.  Otherwise, stay away! 

2016 Book Marketing & Book Publicity Toolkit

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2016

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