Rocker Demoted: Only, Why?

Sports fans today are debating whether John Rocker was demoted because he couldn’t control his mouth or his fast ball. But a day after the controversial Atlanta Braves pitcher angrily confronted the Sports Illustrated reporter who made public Rocker’s highly charged remarks about ethnics and minorities, the ball player was sent back to the minor leagues and fined $5,000. The Braves are insisting that the demotion has to do with Rocker’s recent performance on the field (he’s been struggling on the mound) and not with the incident on Sunday, when he reportedly made threats to journalist Jeff Pearlman. Still, the Braves said that the monetary fine was related to the Sunday skirmish. Last December in Sports Illustrated, Pearlman quoted Rocker denigrating gays, welfare mothers, minorities and others. Major League Baseball fined Rocker $20,000 at the time and suspended him for all of spring training. An arbitrator later reduced the fine to $500 and the suspension to the first two weeks of the season.

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