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Throat-slashing gesture should be banned in MLB and all other sports

Jimmy Myers

Banner Sports sponsored by Cruz Companies


During the recent National League baseball playoff series between the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies, the despicable throat-slashing gesture entered our national conscience again.

It is not known exactly when the gesture entered the symbolic lexicon of modern-day sports, but it can’t be abolished soon enough.

A brief history of the throat-slash dates back to the beginning of time when human beings were inventing ways of killing others. When pirates roamed the high seas, they used this killing maneuver to quickly and brutally dispose of a foe. It became one of their signature trademarks, along with walking the plank, which meant certain death to its victims.

Spin the clock forward to the recent Major League Baseball playoffs. I am sorry to report that this vulgar gesture, or at least the implication that it implies, is still with us.

Being one who has never had his throat slashed, and does not wish ever to experience it, I can say unequivocally that the thought of it sends chills down my spine. The same should be said for any clear-thinking human being. It is even more disgusting when it is done as an imaginary gesture during a sporting event.

Phillies all-star slugger Bryce Harper went way overboard when he used the throat-slash gesture multiple times during his team’s post-season matchup with the Braves. He reasoned that he was responding to a comment by Braves shortstop Orlando Arcia following Harper’s base-running blunder that wiped out his team’s chance for a victory in game two of the best of seven series.

Harper’s two-home-run performance in game three propelled his team to a 10-2 triumph. His staring at Arcia following both home runs and the accompanying throat-slashing gestures on both trips across home plate drew the attention of many people.

The national announcers for the game should have mentioned the incidents. The Braves announcers did not let the incident pass. “Given today’s climate around the world, I’m not sure that’s quite what anybody wants to see,” Joe Simpson said. 

Harper claimed his actions were all in the spirit of competition — to fire himself up. His throat-slashing has drawn the ire of thousands of baseball fans across the country.

Harper is not alone in his aberrant behavior. A quick look at recent history shows that St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina and Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. exchanged throat-slashing gestures during the 2019 National League Division series. There was no report of either player paying a fine. 

My question is: What part of competition requires a participant to act in this unsportsmanlike manner? When the Banner contacted Major League Baseball on this subject, we were told that the league has no discipline policy regarding fines or penalties for such behavior. This reporter finds that statement reprehensible.

The National Football League and National Basketball Association have levied heavy fines on players over recent years for making throat-slashing gestures. The NFL has banned the gesture since 1991, and the NBA since 1999. Players have received heavy fines: Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant, $7,875; NBA stars Dwyane Wade and Kevin Durant, $25,000 each.

Further, the National Hockey League suspended then-Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Nick Boynton for a game in 2010 for the gesture directed at Tampa Bay Lightning center Blair Jones. That incident cost him $2,688.17, and Toronto Maple Leafs forward Nazem Kadri was fined $5,000 for a similar stunt after a hard hit by a Calgary Flames player in 2016. Ironically, in the same year, Anaheim Ducks defenseman Josh Manson made the same motion toward Kadri and was suspended for a game by the League for what it called “an inappropriate gesture.”

It is time for Major League Baseball to join the new world and put a permanent slash through the throat-slash.   

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