Photo via Texas Wesleyan Athletics
Texas Wesleyan University is looking for a new baseball coach. Applicants must be able to strategize a double switch in the bottom of the seventh, craft lefty relievers, and most importantly, not be explicitly prejudiced against potential recruits from states with legal cannabis laws. After all, it was that last part that got coach and former Texas Rangers pitcher Mike Jeffcoat fired this week.
According to local ABC affiliate WFAA, Jeffcoat was dismissed on Thursday because of an email he sent to high school baseball player Gavin Bell from Aurora, Colorado, who had reached out to Jeffcoat in search of opportunities to play college ball.
In the email, which has since gone viral, Jeffcoat told Bell that he would not be pursued as a recruit, not for lacking velocity or a lazy curve, but because he lives in Colorado, where cannabis is legal.
“Thanks for the interest in our program. Unfortunately, we are not recruiting players from the state of Colorado. In the past, players have had trouble passing our drug test. We have made a decision to not take a chance on Student-athletes from your state. You can thank your liberal politicians. Best of Luck wherever you decide to play.”
Lol THIS really happened. Smh. pic.twitter.com/bF9ywQw15d— Darren McKee (@dmac1043) February 28, 2018
Understandably, Bell’s high school coaches were not pleased with the overwhelming generalization about Colorado high schoolers and what can only be assumed is a reference to the state’s legal cannabis industry. After reviewing the email, Cherokee Trail High School baseball coach Allan Dyer brought the letter to the attention of both administrators at Texas Wesleyan and local media sources.
"To hold the political ideals of a state against an 18-year-old kid who has nothing to do with that — I was shocked. How do you do that?" Dyer told reporters from the Denver Channel. "That's what is ironic. Gavin is a great kid."
Moreso, one quick look at the current Texas Wesleyan baseball roster shows that Jeffcoat’s legal weed discrimination was either strangely arbitrary or an unspoken tipping point, with one player coming from Colorado and two others coming from California, where cannabis is legal and has been available to anyone 18 years and older through the state’s medical program since 1996.
Now, less than a week after Bell received the rude email, Texas Wesleyan has fired Jeffcoat, dismissing the former big leaguer for the letter that administrators said was “in no way a reflection of Texas Wesleyan University, its values or its recruiting practices."
"The idea that we would discriminate on the basis that this email suggested is totally inappropriate here and does not comport with our policies and procedures, or with our values as a university," Texas Wesleyan President Frederick Slabach said in a statement announcing Jeffcoat’s firing.
On the bright side, if Bell does find a school that wants to put him on the squad and he eventually ends up in the Majors, he won’t have to worry about much cannabis stigma. While the NBA and NFL frequently suspend players for cannabis use, Major League Baseball has a more lenient program involving small fines and unpublicized treatment classes.
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