Much outrage and well outright mockery have faced the Washington Nationals since they reportedly fined centerfielder Elijah Dukes $500 for being late for pregame warm-ups. An understandable fine usually for a team that is trying to promote professionalism and establish a set of rules, however the reason Dukes was a mere five minutes late was that he was at an opening ceremony for the Great Falls Little League. The Nationals fined Dukes for signing too many autographs.
The media has had a field day with this story. How could the Nats fine Dukes for being nice to kids? He was engaging in charity!
That's the word that keeps bothering me however, charity. Every story I have read has referred to Dukes' actions as charitable work, or community service. But then I read the Washington Nationals website reporting on how the Great Falls Little League wants to pay his late fee, and in that same article I read for the first time that Dukes was paid $500 from the little league for just appearing in the first place.
"It was the league's Opening Day event, for which Dukes was paid $500 to attend, that caused him to be late prompting the fine from Nationals manager Manny Acta, along with a warning that another tardy arrival would earn him a ticket to the Minors."-Nationals.com
I'm not going to get started on how poor the reporting on this issue has been, or how low it is for a Major League baseball player to take money for talking to kids at a little league event. What I am outraged at is that the Media has portrayed Dukes as a victim when the truth is that in the end he will have ended up taking $1001 from children who just want to play baseball.
How many new bats could that buy? How many brand new uniforms or non-shotty team catchers gear could they purchase with that money. Maybe they could even take a good portion of the league to a Nationals game with that much cash. No, instead $1001 dollars will go to dealing with a situation that Elijah Dukes and the Washington Nationals really should have handled better.
-Elijah Dukes took $500 dollars to talk to children. He then took $501 more from them to cover his ass.
-The Nationals fined Dukes without taking into consideration where he was, or what he was doing.
-Dukes attended the Little League service without informing the Washington Nationals that he was doing unapproved ‘charity' work.
-The Nationals prefer their players to engage in actual charity work in which players do not get paid
-Dukes should have called when he knew he would be late.