Baseball Players May Face Inconsistent Sanctioning For Tobacco And Marijuana Use

Photo courtesy of Pixabay user cindydangerjones.Photo courtesy of Pixabay user cindydangerjones.

CORRECTION: This piece has been moved to the Opinion section after previously being incorrectly posted to the News section. We apologize for the error.

 

Imagine yourself as a coach of a college-level baseball team.  One of your players has been arrested for marijuana related charges, and one player has been reported by fellow teammates as having been found guilty of smoking cigarettes. Which of these collegiate athletes would you cut from your team?

A few weeks ago, McDaniel men’s baseball coach Dave Seibert made a questionable decision regarding a strikingly similar situation.

Freshman Sean Whalen said he had regularly attended practices and both home and away games with the team, and admits that baseball was the only reason that he had decided on attending McDaniel in the first place.  He loves baseball, and loved playing for the Green Terror. That was until his collegiate baseball career was cut short.

Coach Dave Seibert had received news from a member of the team that Whalen had been spotted smoking a cigarette on his way across campus one day, and the coach found it cause to schedule a meeting with the freshman first baseman.

Whalen had caught wind of the situation prior to his meeting from one of his teammates. He acknowledged to me that the team agreed upon an unofficial and unwritten rule that using tobacco products during the spring sports season was grounds for punishment.

Official NCAA rules and standards state that on-field tobacco use is not allowed whatsoever; a rule that Whalen made certain to follow during every practice and game (http://www.ncaa.org/).  The use of tobacco products off the field however, is not justified within the NCAA rules as grounds for any punitive actions.

When Whalen finally saw Coach Seibert to speak about the matter, the outcome of this meeting was highly shocking to the freshman first baseman, his friends, and a few teammates as well.

“I couldn’t believe it when I heard about it, it honestly sounded like a joke,” said one of Whalen’s senior teammates.

After their meeting on April 13, Whalen was cut from the team, and Seibert said to him that his use of tobacco on campus was the reason for such action.

When you consider that the team was told that the use of tobacco products could be grounds for punishment, it would thus make sense that Seibert could take the report of Whalen’s use as an instance of insubordination, and would be free to punish him in any way he felt necessary.

However, two interesting points prove the coach’s decision regarding Whalen as highly questionable.

First, reports from two players from the team who wished to remain anonymous admitted to their own use of chewing tobacco not only off the field, but at practices and sometimes games.

“I’ll use it during practice or sometimes even games. I’ve even seen coaches packing lips during practice,” said an anonymous junior baseball player. “We usually say it’s bubble gum or even shredded beef jerky.”

Second, two sophomores at McDaniel who also happen to be players on the team, and whose names are respectfully omitted, have been arrested and charged for marijuana-related offenses while on the baseball team, a fact that corroborated through the Maryland Casesearch website.

When Seibert found out about these events, he took action by suspending the players, yet still allowed them to stay affiliated with the team as an inactive member.  Upon completion of their suspension, Whalen told me that they were allowed to return to the team with full participation.

Considering the facts at hand, I ask you to think to yourself if it sounds as though this situation was handled properly.

Also, I’d recommend making your voice heard by contacting Coach Seibert at dseibert@mcdaniel.edu  or 410-857-2583; or by contacting McDaniel athletics director Paul Moyer at pmoyer@mcdaniel.edu or 410-857-2580 and making them aware of your thoughts on the matter.

My personal opinion on the matter is this: What Coach Seibert did in cutting Sean Whalen from the baseball team was to destroy any shard of credibility he formerly held in my mind.  Whether it can be attributed to underclassmen discrimination, sympathy for marijuana offenses, or a personal distaste for Whalen; none can be entirely sure.

All I know is that the actions taken in this situation puts forth this message to the McDaniel community: if you want to play baseball at McDaniel, don’t smoke cigarettes; you may have a better chance to avoid punishment if you decide to light up a joint or pack a lip.

11 Comments on "Baseball Players May Face Inconsistent Sanctioning For Tobacco And Marijuana Use"

  1. Shawn Beaumont | May 1, 2012 at 4:15 pm |

    On Sunday, April 29 the McDaniel men’s baseball team swept Ursinus College in a doubleheader. At the end of the second game, the younger sister of one of the players approached the bullpen and proceeded to hand out congratulatory Dutch Masters cigars.
    If Coach Seibert does not allow his players to use tobacco products both on and off the field, then what did he expect they were going to do with cigars?

  2. Matthew Pace | May 1, 2012 at 5:11 pm |

    This has to be one of the more biased articles I have read in some time. First off did you not try to contact Coach Seibert and get his side of the story? Did you not come into contact with any teammates that agreed with the decision to kick him off the team? I also like how no where in your article it states that this is not Mr. WhLens first offense, he had even gotten in trouble for weed before this. Pretty piss poor journalistic work by you Mr. Beaumont.

  3. Shawn Beaumont | May 1, 2012 at 8:38 pm |

    Once again, thank you for the criticism. Be on the lookout for a follow up piece.

  4. Sean Whalen | May 1, 2012 at 9:12 pm |

    Before you act like you know everything Pace you should get your facts straight. I never got in trouble for weed or anything else other than cigarettes. The article has the facts and is true. However upsetting that may be to the baseball team, it does not entitle you to make up claims about me so they don’t look as bad.

  5. Looks to me like the writer and his friend the ex player have a grudge against the coach and the team.

  6. Matthew Pace | May 1, 2012 at 10:16 pm |

    Here are the facts, you missed pulling the tarp off the field twice, you missed a game and didnt email the coach til 2pm that day, you were involved in a marijuana incident, you were warned multiple time about smoking cigs. You have nobody to blame but yourself.

  7. James chiorello | May 1, 2012 at 10:22 pm |

    This is the most ridiculous article I have ever seen if you do not know the whole story you have no right to publish this stupid trash. What the coaches do not know is that what Whalen was actually smoking was marijuana and is he says anything different he is a liar. Also doing it in front of Gill in uniform was the act of a stupid person. The only reason this comes out is because it is one of your brothers and he is upset because he did not deserve to be a part of history.

  8. Anonymous | May 2, 2012 at 1:09 am |

    I currently am studying journalism at this fine institution and this is one of the most biased things that I have ever seen. As Mr. Pace said, the writer not even approach any other side of the argument. Not to mention he is a fraternity brother of Mr. Whalen, which would likely lead to quite a bit of bias. Also, I believe that the Frat that they are in has enough trouble dealing with weed, and they should worry about that before attacking something that happened legitimately.

    • Megan Rogers | May 3, 2012 at 11:49 pm |

      If you’re an actual student of journalism, you wouldn’t be citing hearsay as fact. Way to be anonymous.

  9. Isn’t the whole point of the Opinion section to be just that? An opinion? If you believe something else, submit an editorial or opinion piece, rather than airing personal issues in the comment section. As an alum of McDaniel, I have always had issues with the athletic departments at the school — allocation of funds, preferential treatment, coach biases — and although I loved attending baseball games, due to friends on the team, their comments off the field about the coach and the system as a whole make me feel this article has some stand in the truth. Someone, write a follow up with the ‘true’ facts, and then we can all rest easy.

    Side note: college isn’t real life. Quit acting like you’re in high school and trash talking each other online. Talk it out like adults.

  10. Matthew Pace | May 4, 2012 at 3:48 am |

    The problem LB is that when this piece was written it was not under the opinion section. It was just recently moved there.

Comments are closed.