Former Baltimore Oriole Cal Ripken Jr. has denied that he hazed or harassed his teammates as reported by former MLB catcher Gregg Zaun.
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Last week a story made the rounds from longtime catcher Gregg Zaun who lamented the current lack of hazing in the clubhouse. He then shared a pretty detailed account of abuse from Cal Ripken Jr., which he used, not to defame the Orioles legend, but to praise him for providing important lessons to younger players. Unsurprisingly, not too many people came down on Zaun’s view of things and now Ripken and another player Zaun named, Brady Anderson, are denying his stories.
According to a report by USA Today, Ripken and Anderson called his claims “out of whack” and reiterated that they would never do that to anyone and that they did not and do not support hazing or abuse.
Zaun backed off his claims on Monday, but didn’t exactly deny the accounts. Instead he called them horseplay and tomfoolery, while adding that that type of thing is common throughout the league. However, his story still directly conflicts with what Anderson and Ripken are now saying.
“There was no abuse, there was no hazing. It doesn’t do anything for team unity. He knows that and everybody who knows me knows that,” Ripken told MASN School of Roch.
According to Roch, Ripken and others directly contradicted Zaun’s account, saying that Ripken never had an imaginary line on airplanes, rather that he would invite younger players back there to help clean blue crabs, which he occasionally provided.
“I never did that to anyone,” Anderson said, also via MASN. “I don’t believe in rookie hazing or status based on tenure and that nonsense. Hated it then and wouldn’t put up with it as a rookie, and certainly didn’t carry on a tradition I thought was absurd.”
Anderson added that it’s hard enough for rookies to come in and get comfortable and the veterans obviously want them to help the team win games, so hazing would be counterproductive. He said he never understood how being dismissive or forcing them to wear silly costumes was helpful to that process.
So how did Zaun get it so wrong? Obviously we’ll never know for sure as there was no one there filming every moment of the Orioles at that time. More importantly, it provided Ripken and Anderson the opportunity to come down hard on hazing, something that has come to the forefront of sports lately in the wake of the Richie Incognito scandal.
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