Response to Pedro; Potomac primary...

Behind The News
February 11, 2008 1:31:42 PM PST
Wow -- did we get response to my request for comments about Mets pitcher Pedro Martinez throwing live roosters into a ring for a cockfight in the Dominican Republic. I've included some of them down below. The fact that it's not illegal in that country seems to have been the prevailing reason why people thought the story should just die. But not everyone thinks that, as you'll read below. Again, thanks for your well-thought-out comments.

Now to tonight's 11. And we're dealing with the race for President, what with the so-called Potomac Primaries set for tomorrow -- Maryland, Virginia, the District of Columbia.

According to ABC News' delegate count (there are several different counts out there; we'll use our sister organization's count, for obvious reasons), Hillary Clinton has 20 more delegates than Barack Obama, a virtual tie.

Tonight we'll preview the primaries, and explore what's happening in Clinton's campaign, what with her shakeup - the dismissal of one long-time friend as campaign manager, and the elevation of another long-time friend to that position. This is the same "shake up" that was supposed to happen on the eve of the New Hampshire primary; but Sen. Clinton's victory in that state delayed it.

Jeff Pegues is covering the story for us.

Also at 11, we take a closer look at the battle in some neighborhoods to fight the conversion of older, low-rise family homes into high-rise mixed-use complexes -- part residential, part retail. There are many people -- average citizens and sociologists -- who argue that mixed-use developments are the most economical and socially responsible way to grow in an urban environment.

But there are many others who argue, passionately, that eliminating the old-neighborhood feel of long-standing communities is a painful and unhealthy sign of of the times. And some of them are trying to fight the tide.

Tonight at 11, Carolina Leid introduces us to some of these people.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast - including a winter storm coming tomorrow - and Marvell Scott (in for Scott Clark) with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER

PS: Now to those Martinez emails:

From "Amy" -- "Technically it is not illegal since it was in the Dominican Republic. But as an animal lover.... and a volunteer at the ASPCA on East 92nd Street, I am horrified that he did indeed start 'the game going'. Even though it was outside the U.S., is it legal to have his bosses order him go to some sort of "sensitivity training"? To me it is just repulsive because if one can technically kill an innocent animal, it can potentially lead to other violent behavior. "

Mary writes that "unless you work for PETA, there's no story. He was ..... an honored guest, doing something that was totally legal where he was doing it. If he was doing it in the U.S., then you'd have a story as he would have been breaking the law. Should he have used better sense? Maybe. But he did nothing illegal. What about bullfighting in Spain or prostitutes in Amsterdam? All perfectly legal..."

Marcia Lewin has a different take. "As an animal lover, I am against any form of cruelty, for all of life forms, including humans. Although cock fighting is legal in his native land, it is not legal here in the United States, and I believe if you have achieved "fame and fortune" in this country, you should adhere to our ethical standards."

Leonard Rudner of Florida wrote that, "When I first read the news, my reaction was, the media has to be kidding!!! What a stretch to create news. As you correctly pointed out, what Pedro did was in no way illegal, so why even talk about it. I guess that is what you guys do. Be well, enjoy your column every weekday."

Lisa says that, "This is not news. All he did was attend a legal sporting event in the Dominican Republic. I am sure there were more pertinent things that could have been reported instead. Shame on the media!"e to us here in the US.

And Debra from Brooklyn says that while, "personally I despise the sport of cock fighting .. Pedro was in his own country. we may not like it ,but as long as he does it in his country I can't really attack him."

Renee Keiser from Rochester writes that she agrees with my statement that "most people who pay money to go see him at Shea Stadium would find something like that repulsive. (I know, personally, that I would).

I also see the other side--since cockfighting is legal in the Dominican Republic, he really wasn't doing anything 'wrong.'

However, legal or not, his image here in the U.S. now appears to be blemished. Martinez plays for a major league team in the United States, where cockfighting is illegal, and where more people than not

(hopefully) find cockfighting to be repulsive. I feel someone in that kind of position: that kids look up to, that others pay good money to see play baseball, should know that they project an image to others, and that they have to protect a good image if they want to be respected. I would compare it, in the most simplest of forms, to someone a younger child trusts and looks up to lighting up a cigarette. Smoking cigarettes is perfectly legal in the U.S., but that doesn't mean it projects a favorable image. Just because something is legal somewhere else doesn't make it ok to do. With that debate, I think it's definitely still a worthwhile story: because people are talking about it. It shows how widely regarded Martinez is as a player, and as a person."


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