MLB Bans Long-Standing Rookie Hazing Ritual
The long-time Major League Baseball (MLB) hazing ritual that forces rookie baseball players to dress up like Disney Princesses, Hooters girls and even more bizarre costumes is now gone. MLB created a new Anti-Hazing and Anti-Bullying Policy banning the historic practice as part of the sport’s newly ratified five-year labor deal and the players’ union agreed not to contest it.

Many current and ex-players aren’t in favor of the new policy, saying that it’s a fun bonding ritual. However, Billy Bean, who came out after he retired and is now vice president of social responsibility and inclusion for MLB, has put the policy in perspective for those who still support the hazing ritual. “We didn’t used to take pictures or talk about what we used to do. Now players are posting pictures in the clubhouse in real time … We need to be cognizant of the 7- and 8-year-olds that have access to your Twitter feed 24/7,” he says.

Bean also said that “If the hazing is disparaging toward women, or the LGBTQ community, or old stereotypes that people used to think were funny about ethnic backgrounds or religious views, that’s not funny anymore.” But he also says that MLB isn’t turning into the fun police, that there are friendly initiations for rookies that don’t send a harmful message. With average seasonal salaries over $4 million, he thinks players should realize that others may find those “fun” traditions offensive.

Chapecoense Awarded Copa Sudamericana Trophy
In a bittersweet follow up to last month’s tragic plane crash that killed many of Brazil’s Chapecoense soccer team as they traveled to the Copa Sudamericana final, CONMEBOL has awarded the tournament title to the ravaged team. The decision was made after Atletico Nacional, the team assigned to play Chapecoense in the final, insisted they wouldn’t play and urged CONMEBOL to give the trophy to Brazilian team.

Olympian Gabby Douglas to Confront Cyberbullying
Three-time Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast Gabby Douglas has joined Hack Harrassment as a change ambassador. An initiative aimed at combating cyber-bullying, the program is backed by major worldwide technology companies that include Intel, Vox Media and Recode in hope it will “promote safer, more inclusive online experiences for everyone.”

The 20-year-old Douglas was subjected to heavy online bullying during the Rio Games, especially from social media sites such as Twitter, criticizing her for not putting hand-over-heart during the National Anthem and for not giving teammates Simone Biles and Aly Raisman a standing ovation for their gold and silver finishes in the individual all-around finals.

As a result, she hopes to spare others from the same fate through her participation in this program. “I just want to say that you are not alone,” she said in a “Good Morning America” interview. “And even though it may seem the world’s against you – and I definitely felt like the world was definitely against me in Rio – I’m here to tell you that’s not the case.”

WNBA Offers App for Player Safety Overseas
Many Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) players play overseas during the league off-season in China, Turkey, Russia and other European countries. To ensure their safety, the new league app will allow players to receive advisories and notifications similar to those sent by the state department to U. S. travelers. It also enables them to communicate directly with the league and its security team if danger should arise.

Christina Kahrl Promoted to MBL Senior Editor at ESPN
Congratulations go to Christina Kahrl, well-known baseball writer, a co-founder of Baseball Prospectus and transgender activist for her recent promotion to MLB Senior Editor at ESPN. A member of the Baseball Writers Association of America and writer for, the Chicago resident and her wife, Charlie Mae Wanamaker will be moving next month to Bristol, Connecticut, home of ESPN’s corporate headquarters. Kahrl is on the board of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association and in 2014 was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame.

Former Team USA Gymnastics Doctor Arrested for Child Pornography
Dr. Larry Nassar, former head doctor for Team USA Gymnastics and prior to that for Michigan State University (MSU), has recently been arrested as part of a federal investigation into child pornography. According to a two-count indictment filed in Michigan, he possessed “thousands of images of child pornography” from 2003- 2016.

He is also accused of molesting dozens of patients, including an Olympic medalist, during his time with Team USA from 1996 through 2015. An investigation by the Indianapolis Star claimed that over the past 20 years “at least” 36 American gymnasts have made allegations of sexual abuse. Nassar and Team USA Gymnastics are also the subjects of lawsuits from two women who were allegedly subjected to sexual abuse by him that was to reported to but ignored by team officials.