Work in Sports
The Rocker files
A chronology of John Rocker's last three months:
Dec. 22 -- Rocker's comments to Sports Illustrated are publicized for the first time. He said he would never play for a New York team because he didn't want to ride a subway train "next to some queer with AIDS." He also mocked foreigners and described an unnamed Latin teammate as a "fat monkey." Rocker issues a statement admitting he went too far. "I am contrite," he says.
Dec. 23 -- Hall of Famer Hank Aaron, a vice president with the Braves, said he would strongly consider getting rid of Rocker for his remarks. Meanwhile, about 15 activists protest outside Turner Field, urging the Braves to release the reliever.
Jan. 6 -- Baseball orders Rocker to undergo psychological testing before commissioner Bud Selig decides whether to impose discipline.
Jan. 12 -- In his first interview since the uproar began, Rocker admits to ESPN that his comments about minorities and homosexuals in a magazine article made him sound like "a complete jerk." He also apologizes and says he is not a racist.
Jan. 13 -- Rocker meets with Aaron and former U.N. ambassador Andrew Young. Aaron says he was not impressed with Rocker's apology during the ESPN interview, but his attitude changed after he met the pitcher face-- to-- face at Aaron's car dealership in suburban Atlanta.
Jan. 17 -- Members of Twisted Sister ask the Braves to stop using their song "I Wanna Rock" to introduce the reliever. That night, presidential candidates Bill Bradley and Vice President Al Gore criticize Rocker's remarks during the Democratic debate in Des Moines, Iowa.
Jan. 19 -- Braves owner Ted Turner says Rocker deserves a chance to atone for his comments. "I don't think we ought to hold it against him forever," Turner said. "He didn't commit a crime."
Jan. 31 -- Commissioner Bud Selig suspends Rocker until May 1, saying his racial and ethnic remarks "offended practically every element of society." Selig also imposes a $20,000 fine and orders Rocker to undergo sensitivity training.
Feb. 1 -- The players' association appeals Selig's punishment, sending the matter to independent arbitrator Shyam Das.
Feb. 9-- 10 -- Das holds a two-- day hearing in New York, hearing testimony from Selig, Rocker, Braves president Stan Kasten and Atlanta City Councilman Derrick Boazman.
Feb. 18 -- Rocker remains at home while the Braves pitchers and catchers report to spring training in Kissimmee, Fla.
March 1 -- Das cuts Rocker's suspension in half, suspending him for the first 14 days of the regular season, and reduces his fine from $20,000 to $500. Das also clears Rocker to report to spring training. The pitcher travels to central Florida and is scheduled to join his teammates the following day.
March 14 -- Rocker receives a standing ovation as he sprints in from right field, then pitches a 1-2-3 ninth inning to fimish off the Braves' 4-0 victory over the Detroit Tigers.