“He’s going through a very difficult situation and it’s tough. I talked to him for a few minutes. I think he’s going through a hard time. I don’t think it’s a situation anyone would want to be in. The way I look at it, all of us have probably done things we regret. Some of them might be worse than others and obviously this is a very sad story and situation, but I don’t believe you turn your back on people. He’s a friend to a lot of people and my heart goes out to the guy. He’s got three kids. Who knows what’s going to happen. My heart goes out to the lady. It’s not an easy situation.”
GM Brian Cashman coldly said:
“He was here locally doing whatever and he just wanted to swing by and see some of his old teammates.I don’t have any more than that.”
Leyritz, the self-proclaimed “King”, hugged Shelley Duncan and Andy Pettitte. He strutted around the clubhouse, and was happy and laughing. Many Yankees fans are once again split; they know that the new administration is different than George Steinbrenner’s old and unforgiving ways (and are happy), but they also believe that murderers would never be allowed back to socialize, especially during the trial.
I don’t know how I feel. Part of me is happy the Yankees didn’t shun a player. Girardi really didn’t have a choice; banning Leyritz would look bad to his players. I don’t believe in ostracizing a former veteran. But the other part of me says I don’t think the King should have been allowed to return to the clubhouse until he is found not-guilty. Seriously, it’s Girardi’s clubhouse, but if Cashman was against it, he should have stopped it.
Here are some comments culled from the message boards:
“Whatever. Based on what we know at the moment, Leyritz deserves to rot in prison, but that doesn’t mean friends and former coworkers should ignore him. It’s not like they had “Jim Leyritz Day” and made beers 2 for 1.”
“…he shouldn’t be allowed to walk around the clubhouse like a returning hero. They could’ve gone to see him any time they liked over the winter.”
“That kind of value judgment, while understandable and quite common, depends entirely on a PR-consciousness which I’ve come to loathe in this country. While organizations’ increasing aversion to associating themselves with any sort of negativity was inspired by legal and/or commercial concenrs (i.e. can’t look like you’re associated with the bad behavior lest you be sued and/or suffer a boycot) it has gotten way out of hand. Allowing Leyritz on the property in no way condones his actions, and won’t subject the Yankees to any negative commercial fallout. There is a big difference between treating him “like a returning hero” and simply being decent to a person who was an important part of their history, and I applaud the Yankees for not treating him like a pariah.”
“No. But it enables distraction. I’m sure the players are big enough not to let Leyritz’s mere attendance get in their way. But all it takes is for one person not to want him there, one person who makes one comment, to allow the media to drive a wedge between players who agree with Brooks and players who feel their friend is being attacked unfairly. And that can bubble over. I’d think the team would do its best to minimize the opportunities for this kind of thing.”
“Hate the sin, not the sinner.”
“I wouldn’t have invited Leyritz to be with the team, but I’m not going to get worked up about it.”
“Reason #23,890,117 to hate the Yanks: they let murderers into their clubhouse.”
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