Today's New York Times has a report about an umpiring school, and it's not one of those puff pieces about Joe West's country music career.
It's bad stuff:
For a while, at least, the annual bowling party for the Jim Evans Academy for Professional Umpiring was a typical company outing. Employees drafted teams, concocted humorous names and went to the local alley to compete for bragging rights.
It did not stay normal for long. Over the course of that evening last month in Kissimmee, Fla., one team of employees bowled under a name that invoked the Ku Klux Klan. The team had entered the alley wearing costumes that played off the racist group's distinctive regalia.
According to employees who attended the event, one group of instructors chose a name that referred to the racial makeup of their four team members using well-known slurs. The team was composed of three white instructors and one Latino instructor. The white instructors wore shirts decorated with the words "Border Patrol."
Another team, after briefly calling themselves Klein's Klan—incorporating the last name of one of the members—settled on the name Klein's Kleaning Krew. They entered the alley with the team name silkscreened on their shirts and cones on their heads.
The lone black employee of the Evans Academy was upset with the display and complained to his boss. He also resigned from the firm. Within days, Minor League Baseball had severed its relationship with the Evans Academy, deferring the dreams of young umpires. Evans told the Times, "It was a bad joke that was not meant to hurt anyone. We're a close-knit family, and sometimes our closeness allows us to say things or do things that we wouldn't say to other people." Huh.