Mo’ne Davis ‘Slut’ Tweet By Bloomsburg University Player Only Proves Her Importance To Sports

Joey Casselberry should have known better in an age where highly offensive social media remarks and images quickly go viral. But the former Bloomsburg University baseball player simply couldn’t help himself. In response to the news that Little League sensation Mo’ne Davis is getting her own Disney movie, Casselberry responded with a rather telling remark.

“Disney is making a movie about Mo’ne Davis? WHAT A JOKE. That slut got rocked by Nevada.”

For the record, Casselberry was not the only adult man making offensive comments about a teenage girl. However, he was notably and quite publicly reprimanded for his behavior by Bloomsburg University.

There are some who believe that Joey Casselberry should have been allowed to apologize and avoid punishment because they have no idea how freedom of speech works in the United States. For the confused, when our nation’s forefathers sat down to write the Constitution, it wasn’t with the intent that people who say stupid things could avoid negative consequences associated with their words. In fact, protection of free speech was meant to keep the government from inhibiting it. People who think they are free to say what they want and evade social and economic consequences only reveal the lack of understanding for how the concept works.

As for the tweet about Mo’ne Davis and the ridiculous outcry from grown men who should be ashamed of themselves, I believe it’s absolute proof that this young woman is a necessary presence in the world of sports. Some people “don’t get the hype.” Well, I’m going to explain it to you.

With your left hand, start counting off all the nationally recognized black women baseball players that you know at ANY level of the sport. Start with Mo’ne Davis on your thumb and go from there. I’ll wait. Done counting? I imagine it didn’t take very long.

I could have left this at gender, but some Americans will point to A League of Their Own as proof that there’s nothing historically significant about Mo’ne and her current accomplishments. Nevermind the fact that she’s playing with boys. Nevermind the fact that she can throw 70 miles per hour. Nevermind the fact that when WWII was over, men put women “back in the kitchen” and tried to pretend that allowing them to build weapons, hold down jobs, and play professional sports didn’t shatter the mantra that women would never be as good as men at anything.

People who choose to see other people as unequal due to pre-existing bigotry typically do not like to see those beliefs challenged. When Jackie Robinson emerged in 1947, it was the end of the lie that people of color were not good enough to play baseball with white men. Despite being the subject of vicious racial abuse from ignorant white Americans from coast to coast, Robinson forced the sport of baseball into the 20th century. Now, men of various races and ethnicities play together.

When Joey Casselberry called Davis a “slut” for daring to be a nationally recognized sports figure while simultaneously being a girl, he was only acting out modern prejudices. Let’s not pretend that women athletes are given the same respect or pay as male athletes. Or that his opinions about women are unique. The truth is, far too many men feel comfortable attacking this young woman for doing nothing more than her very best on and off the field.

If you asked these men why they felt so offended by Disney honoring the first black female baseball player of note, they probably couldn’t form a coherent response outside of a resentment for her “hype.”

They won’t look at their daughters and ask whether or not such hype could give them back any of the self-esteem the girls started losing the moment they began to understand that “being a girl” was something to be considered bad or ashamed of. They also won’t consider the fact that there are girls (and little boys) who look to Mo’ne Davis and see someone worth emulating.

Mo’ne Davis is a highly intelligent African-American girl who is also a gifted athlete. Adult white American males have no shortage of “heroes” to look up to, hyped or otherwise. So perhaps, the offended could do the rest of us a favor and shut up.

Mo’ne Davis is having a moment; believe it or not, some of us need her to have that moment.

[Image Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Stringer/Getty Images, Joey Casselberry via Sports Illustrated]