AP Photo/Alex Gallardo
Major League Baseball umpire Rob Drake has issued a statement apologizing for a tweet sent out earlier this week in which he said he was going to buy an AR-15, because if Donald Trump is impeached and removed from office, there’ll be a “cival war.” In the new statement, Drake says once he tweeted out his statement he “realized the violence in his words” and added that he can’t “unsay the words, but please accept my sincerest apologies.”
“I want to personally apologize to everyone that my words made feel less safe,” Drake said in the statement. “I especially want to apologize to every person who has been affected by gun violence in our country. I also acknowledge and apologize for the controversy this has brought to Major League Baseball, my fellow umpires and my family. I never intended to diminish the threat of violence from assault weapons, or violence of any kind.”
The apology comes after MLB commissioner Rob Manfred told reporters the league was investigating Drake’s tweet, which the Major League Baseball Umpires Association described as “the wrong way to convey his opinion about our great country.” The umpire group called Drake a “passionate individual and a great umpire”, and didn’t announce any sanctions against the umpire, who’s been working major league games since 1999.
When the news of Drake’s tweet broke a few days ago I said that I didn’t think Drake had done anything wrong, though I disagree about a civil war starting if the president is impeached, and I stand by that. Obviously Drake is entitled to handle this situation however he chooses, but I wouldn’t be surprised if MLB reached out behind the scenes and asked/told Drake to apologize in order to quell the controversy. The language used by Drake, including apologizing to “every person who has been affected by gun violence”, sure sounds like it was written by someone with some public relations and crisis communications experience.
Whether we like it or not, tensions in this country are running high right now, and while I think a civil war isn’t in our nation’s immediate future, civil unrest is another thing entirely.
Things are tense right now, and most folks seem more interested in lighting matches than extending olive branches. Around the world we’re watching civil unrest and demonstrations, in Hong Kong, Spain, Iraq, and several South American nations. Are we really supposed to believe that the United States is immune from similar unrest if tensions keep ramping up?
I could see things getting pretty ugly if President Trump is removed from office, but I can also envision similar unrest if President Trump were to get reelected next year. This isn’t a Left or Right issue, in other words. Those edging us closer to unrest can be found on both ends of the political spectrum, just as you can find folks on the Left and the Right who are concerned about where we’re headed and are arming up for self-defense. Some might say that Drake’s tweet was exacerbating the current political tensions, but I see it as more of a statement of frustration more than anything else.
Now that Drake has issued his statement and made his apology, will that be enough for Major League Baseball? I’m still unclear what the league was actually investigating, but the tweet is gone and the umpire has expressed his regret in clear terms. What happens to Drake is up to the league, but it would be incredibly disappointing if the league punished him in any way for expressing his opinion, no matter how unpopular it might be.