Detroit Tigers left fielder Delmon Young wearing a commemorative Jackie Robinson jersey, but he did dishonor to his memory by being chargedewith a hate crime in New York Friday. Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-US PRESSWIRE

Reason To Boo Delmon Young

A lot of times I don’t know why home fans boo a player. It’s never going to help him and if it is a performance-based razz surely he knows as well as anyone else that he is stinking up the joint. But Demon Young is a whole ‘nother case. When a guy gets into trouble on the street in the late A.M. and compounds his mischief with broad-based ethnic slurs, I say to the fans “Have at him.”

Delmon Young is the new Mel Gibson. Gibson was one of the most popular actors in the world before he began messing up. Mel has done several things out of step over the last few years, notably watching his image as a family man disintegrate, but the public has been inured to Hollywood breakups of almost any type.

But when Gibson went on an anti-semitic rant he brought down Old Testament wrath on his head. I know Jewish people who say they will never go to another movie of his again. Of course, given his recent track record most of America has decided not to go to any of his movies, but that’s because he hasn’t made anything worth seeing anyway.

Young, the Detroit Tigers’ left-fielder, in the Big Apple for a series against the Yankees, undid himself on the streets of New York (it’s not like that hasn’t happened before) Friday when he got himself arrested for a multitude of sins larger than missing a fly ball at Yankee Stadium or striking out too often. The police account of Young’s unpleasant evening involves him standing outside of his Hilton Hotel and being approached by a panhandler looking for money.

I’m guessing that the poor man (in more than one sense of the word) did not know Young’s batting average or profession since there is no indication he was taking in the air while wearing his uniform with his name stitched on the back. Rather than participate in a minor act of charity like digging into his pocket and giving the guy a dollar bill, apparently Young began screaming at the guy. The man begging for help was wearing a yarmulke, so Young interpreted the display of that garment as him being Jewish.

What followed got a little murky, but seemed to boil down to Young shouting anti-semitic remarks at the guy. Not the brightest choice. He could have ignored him. He could have given him some change or a buck. He could have said he didn’t have any money to give. He could have walked away. Don’t know where ranting with anti-semitic remarks would rank on a David Letterman 10 Stupidest Things to Do When Approached By A Pan Handler List, but I’m thinking it would be a contender for No. 1.

Then a group of four Chicago tourists, also staying at the hotel, come along and are offended by Young and they all start to get into it on the street, and then inside the hotel lobby. Magnificent. Eventually, New York’s finest are summoned and Young gets busted, charged with aggravated harassment–a hate crime.

There were suggestions Young had a few drinks before this scene all began (I’m guessing he wasn’t drinking Manischewitz). The police actually took him to a hospital first because he seemed so intoxicated and because he had seemingly incurred minor injury in the course of his struggles with the Chicago Four. He was being treated for scratched elbows. Scratched elbows? That’s a brawl injury? Whatever.

Young made it out of jail on $5,000 bail. Life went on for the Tigers without him and his .242 batting average (with one homer and five RBIs) when Young was exiled to the restricted list. Major League Baseball is looking into his behavior, as well as the New York court system. At some point I am sure we’ll hear from the Anti-Defamation League, too. Those guys don’t like to see bigots get away unscathed.

Quite the hangover for Delmon Young, who meanwhile has issued a public apology through his team. Next road trip–if there is a next road trip–Young may put himself under hotel arrest. As is he’s probably holding his head saying, “I should have ordered room service.” He could have had food and drink delivered to his room and sat there yelling stupid ethnic slurs at the TV by his lonesome and no one would have been the wiser.

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Tags: Delmon Young Detroit Tigers Ethnic Slurs Mel Gibson New York Yankees Yankee Stadium

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