film / tv / politics / social media / lists / web / celeb / pajiba love / misc / about / cbr
film / tv / politics / web / celeb


64-Year-Old, Mormon Former Baseball Player Speaks Out about Black Lives Matter. What Could Go Wrong?

By Dustin Rowles | Celebrity | June 3, 2020 |

By Dustin Rowles | Celebrity | June 3, 2020 |


Growing up, I had two heroes: A late-night talk show host from Indiana, and a Mormon baseball player from Utah. You will never guess who has disappointed me the least in my adult life. I’ll give you a hint: It’s not the guy who had an affair with one of his employees.

The Mormon from Utah is Dale Murphy, two-time MVP, seven-time All-Star, and a man who basically missed the Hall of Fame by two home runs (he ended his career with 398 dingers, and 400 HRs is as good as automatic — just ask Andre Dawson). Murph was a great baseball player, but his bigger legacy will always be that of the kindest man in the history of baseball. This is not debatable. Anyone who watched baseball in the ’80s, no matter what team they rooted for, knows this about Dale Murphy. He is one of the best human beings on the planet. Literally, no one who is familiar with Murphy will deny this. He was humble, selfless, and generous, and just a good, good man.

Murphy is 64 years old now, he has a huge Mormon family, and no offense, but — appearance-wise — he could probably be mistaken for a bad guy in a Purge movie. He still leads a fairly public life; he’s vocal on Twitter; he’s a speaker; and he writes periodically for The Athletic. As someone who has looked up to Dale Murphy all my life, I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop, for him to expose himself as a closet evil human being. But Murphy, somehow, never fails to surprise me, and to find out that he’s friendly with R.E.M. or Jason Isbell or Walton Goggins or Wilco just blows my mind. The worst anyone can say about Murphy is that he’s a very, very white person.

We live in a moment, however, where a lot of people have been showing their true selves, or when some people previously believed to be generous and kind-hearted are revealed to be, well, Ellen Degeneres. And yet Dale Murphy — hero to millions of Southern middle-aged men — is well aware of his privilege, and he knows how to use it for positive effect.

A couple of days ago, his son was hit near the eye by a rubber bullet while protesting. This is the sort of moment where we find out who Dale Murphy truly is. Here’s what we learned about Dale Murphy:

I don’t know that anyone who doesn’t know who Dale Murphy is will understand what that means coming from him, but JFC, my heart swelled three sizes (sorry for the blasphemy, Dale). Also, Reggie Jackson knows what’s up.

However, it also meant that Murphy has probably incurred backlash for the first time in his life, all from racists subhumans like former Philly/Met Lenny Dykstra. Murphy didn’t put himself physically at risk, but by speaking out, he made himself vulnerable to attacks from racist fans and fellow baseball players. But he also used his platform in a positive way, to speak to other white people about what former NBA player Steve Nash correctly notes is “a white problem.” Some of Murph’s fans will reject his message, but a lot of white people who love and respect and admire him will listen, which only strengthens Murphy’s legacy — not as a man who deserves to be in the HOF — but as one of the best human beings in all of sports.

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

Header Image Source: Getty Images