That won’t be happening anymore, according to a provision in MLB’s new collective bargaining agreement (per the Associated Press), which is set to be ratified Tuesday. In a move agreed to by the players’ union, the league will have an anti-hazing and anti-bullying policy that prohibits a variety of longtime rituals that could have a greater likelihood of causing offense in the social-media age.
According to the AP, the new policy bans players from “requiring, coercing or encouraging” other players to engage in “dressing up as women or wearing costumes that may be offensive to individuals based on their race, sex, nationality, age, sexual orientation, gender identify or other characteristic.”
— New York Mets (@Mets) October 1, 2016
However, costumes such as superhero outfits will still be allowed. The AP cited past examples that would meet the new standard, including “San Francisco ace Madison Bumgarner as a giant ketchup bottle, Miami slugger Giancarlo Stanton on the U.S. Olympic men’s water polo team and Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig as Gumby.”
Paul Mifsud, an MLB vice president and deputy general counsel who oversees labor relations and social responsibility, told the news service Monday that the new policy stemmed in part from the advent of “social media, which in our view sort of unfortunately publicized a lot of the dressing up of the players . . . those kind of things which in our view were insensitive and potentially offensive to a number of groups.”
“Although it hasn’t happened, you could sort of see how someone might even dress up in black face and say, ‘Oh, no, we were just dressing up,’ ” Mifsud added. “We’ve also understood that a number of players have complained about it.”
However, Kevin Youkilis, a former major leaguer and now a special assistant to the Cubs, expressed dismay at the new policy. “Seriously?! Had to wear a Hooters outfit going through customs in Toronto and wore it proudly [because] I was in the show,” he wrote on Twitter.
According to the new policy, “a player’s actual or perceived willingness to participate in prohibited conduct does not excuse the activity from being considered a violation of the policy.” In addition, making players “consume alcoholic beverages or any other kind of drug, or requiring the ingestion of an undesirable or unwanted substance (food, drink, concoction)” is outlawed.