Your honor, my client (Blake Snell) pleads temporary stupidity

John Romano | The Rays pitcher wins the award for the most outrageously out-of-touch ramblings of a star athlete during the age of coronavirus.
In happier times, Blake Snell signs autographs for fans during the start of spring training in Port Charlotte in February. Try to think about this version of Snell, rather than the clueless, self-centered version on Twitch.
In happier times, Blake Snell signs autographs for fans during the start of spring training in Port Charlotte in February. Try to think about this version of Snell, rather than the clueless, self-centered version on Twitch. [ Times ]
Published May 14, 2020|Updated May 14, 2020

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the jury.

I would like to sincerely thank you for serving on the Court of Public Opinion.

You are going to be asked today to listen to some pretty strong language. I apologize in advance. You may hear things that make you want to scream, curse or mutilate a Blake Snell bobblehead.

That’s understandable.

But please listen to all of the evidence before judging Mr. Snell too harshly. And just to be clear, Mr. Snell is not my client. I am merely a self-appointed blowhard in this case.

First of all, Mr. Snell is not guilty.

Related: Rays’ Blake Snell: ‘Just not worth it’ to play in 2020 for reduced pay

Yes, I know that seems hard to believe when you have the video evidence in front of you. But there are technical aspects of the law that you may not be entirely familiar with. For instance, Mr. Snell could employ this completely self-serving, and conveniently manufactured defense:

Temporary stupidity.

Makes sense, right? You’ve seen stupid, I’ve seen stupid. This was undoubtedly stupid. It borders on cutting-edge stupid.

Like any American, Mr. Snell has the right to express his opinion. And during this global crisis we’re facing, who among us, at one point or another, hasn’t expressed concern for our health going back to work? That’s entirely justified.

During an unscripted soliloquy on his Twitch streaming channel, he also expressed outrage about his lack of paychecks while his industry has been shut down. Again, that is a completely natural and warranted concern.

Where Mr. Snell surrendered countless IQ points was in his awareness. Or, should I say, his utter lack of awareness.

With an annual salary of $7 million, Mr. Snell is already guaranteed a pay cut of at least $3.5 million. That’s a lot of money to lose in the blink of an eye. And now his employers are apparently asking for an additional pay cut on top of that. I’m sure that would make you angry, too.

Related: Ron DeSantis: ‘All professional sports are welcome’ in Florida

The problem is Mr. Snell showed no appreciation for the larger picture in America.

Which is why I’m hoping there are no health care workers on this jury. Or first responders. Or grocery store clerks. Or restaurant employees. Or any other workers who have been putting themselves at far greater risk than a baseball player in an isolated stadium. And all for just a tiny fraction of his salary, mind you.

I’m also hoping there are no furloughed or laid-off workers on this jury. People who are trying to navigate unwieldy unemployment protocols just to put food on the table or keep a roof over their heads. Mr. Snell’s math proficiency seemed tenuous on the video but even he should be able to grasp that more than 36 million Americans have already filed unemployment claims.

Let’s face it, the things he said would have made Bull Durham’s Nuke LaLoosh cringe. It made him sound selfish, insensitive and condescending.

And I’m arguing that he is none of those things. Just massively, epically, temporarily stupid.

There are legitimate arguments to be made that baseball should cancel the 2020 season, as Mr. Snell seemed to suggest. You could say it’s not worth the risk or effort to direct so many resources toward baseball when so many are struggling with daily life.

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You could also make an argument that baseball owners are taking advantage of the pandemic to institute the type of pay restrictions they have long favored and the players’ union has forcefully resisted.

Related: We must be getting back to normal. Baseball owners and players are fighting

Unfortunately, Mr. Snell did not make any of those arguments.

He simply, and crudely, demanded his riches.

It sounded bad, I know. It sounded like a wealthy athlete completely out of touch with the majority of fans who spend their hard-earned money to watch him play ball.

But I ask you, ladies and gentlemen, to consider his words in the greater context of a pandemic. Of a relatively young man (he’s 27) frustrated and angry that everything he has spent his life working toward has been disrupted. Of the carefree, and foolish, approach to social media that too many young people seem to embrace.

The truth is, this quarantine has made us all a little crazy and stupid.

Some more than others.