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Old Fri Jan 19, 2007, 03:59pm
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Background investigation release form

With a recent package I received in the mail, there is a background release form. I have to assume this is a national directive & not regional.
Are you assigners getting flack from your Umps. What have you been told to do by National or Regional brass with the Umps that don't want to sign it.
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Old Fri Jan 19, 2007, 07:54pm
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What governing authority is this?
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Old Fri Jan 19, 2007, 10:42pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chuck chopper
With a recent package I received in the mail, there is a background release form. I have to assume this is a national directive & not regional.
Are you assigners getting flack from your Umps. What have you been told to do by National or Regional brass with the Umps that don't want to sign it.
I've made my opinion known before, the minute ASA asks me for this is the minute I leave ASA.
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Old Sat Jan 20, 2007, 04:14pm
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You guys don't think it's a good idea to check the backgrounds of adults involved with children?

Our State requires fingerprint and background checks for all school officials. A HS basketball official in a neighboring county was just arrested for following a player around the school before the game asking to see her feet!

I think a background check to keep people like that out of the ASA is a small price for me to pay and a great idea. It's unfortunately a sign of the times.
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Old Sat Jan 20, 2007, 04:44pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IRISHMAFIA
I've made my opinion known before, the minute ASA asks me for this is the minute I leave ASA.
WOW! That surprises me Mike. I've never read any of your posts on this issue and I'd be curious to know your reasoning. Do you think it's a violation of privacy? Do you think it's a small price to pay to keep a preditor from having access to kids? I may not like it - I submit to a background check every year for Little League - but I'd do it for HS or ASA.
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Old Sat Jan 20, 2007, 04:57pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigsig
You guys don't think it's a good idea to check the backgrounds of adults involved with children?
That isn't what I said, but now that you asked.
  • BI, especially the low-level which are conducted, discover very little. It will only catch those with a standing criminal background record.
  • An umpire should not be involved with the players at any point. They are there to officiate a softball game, not to interact with a child.
Quote:
Our State requires fingerprint and background checks for all school officials. A HS basketball official in a neighboring county was just arrested for following a player around the school before the game asking to see her feet!
School organizations are not the same. Their activities are conducted with the school complete liable in loco parentis. ASA is not, nor should they want to be. Odds are your basketball official would have done whatever it was he was doing. For that matter, without the full story, I don't know if he did anything illegal.

Quote:
I think a background check to keep people like that out of the ASA is a small price for me to pay and a great idea. It's unfortunately a sign of the times.
I disagree. Having worked in the high-value secure transportation business and an auditor and USN high-level communications prior to that, I have constantly witnessed people who you think should never get passed a poly or BI are standing next to you, doing a job which involves high security and trust.

Keeping them out of ASA or any other organization will not stop these type of people. If a game official, and you will find one example almost anywhere in the country (out of how many sports officials?), commits illegal acts toward a minor, my question is where is that minor's team, coaches, parents, friends, league administrators and directors? There are many volunteer parents that help with the teams. Will all of them be investigated? After all, do they not come in constant contact with children other than their own and carry the weight of authority?

Let's step to the other side of the issue. Who determines what is inappropriate and what is not? Think about it. In a certain part of the country, a businessman/woman responds to a certain act, "Come on, honey, you can do better then that" it is completely acceptable, and in some societal communities, expected! Bring that same scenario to a big-city, up-tight suburban community and those individuals are terminated, shunned by former "friends" and can completely lose their lifestyle just because they were acting in a manner which is considered not only acceptable, but friendly.

Again, under who's societal laws will the line be drawn? Who makes the determination of who is good and who is bad? Hasn't this country learned from Sen. Joe McCarthy that people cannot be trusted to be honorable, even-handed and fair when it comes to highly sensitive and devisive issues?

And once this information is collected, who will police it's use? Do you have enough faith in people, especially those who volunteer for such a task, that it will held in strict confidence and not used beyond a predescribed limit? If you do, let's talk about Arlen Specter's (didn't he work with Sen. McCarthy?) magic bullet theory, RICO laws only applying to racketeering and organized crime, the CIA not running black ops out of Laos and Cambodia and a bridge in Brooklyn.

Cynical? Yep, things like this and the resulting abuse of percieved authority have caused me to be that way

IMO, I believe this is another Chicken Little reaction that is nothing more than a non-productive, feel-good invasion and insinuation of our community.

That said, I have changed my strategy. If this is ever presented, instead of walking away, I will fight this however I may. I'm sure there will be a loss of friendship and trust, but I just don't believe in living our lives in such a manner to quell the fears of others who choose to lack the ability to take responsibility for their charge.

JMHO,

Mike

Last edited by IRISHMAFIA; Sat Jan 20, 2007 at 05:02pm.
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Old Sat Jan 20, 2007, 07:12pm
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A HS basketball official in a neighboring county was just arrested for following a player around the school before the game asking to see her feet!

Weird behavior, no doubt some sort of sexual disorientation. The girl may very well have been lucky to escape danger. Who knows? But what did they charge this official with?

Between games last year, a girl about 10 years old tried to retrieve some softballs that had been caught in tangled netting in the backstop. As I stood near the plate, I watched her climb about 12 feet up, when she realized she wouldn't be able to reach the balls, and tried to descend. However, partly because she was wearing "heelys," she found going down harder than going up and became a little anxious. So I got under her, directed her down, and sort of caught her as she let go and fell a little ways. Amazingly, I was not arrested (but the thought definitely crossed my mind).

I wish I had an answer to background checks. Here in NJ, Megan Kanka was raped and murdered by a convicted child molester whom the state had housed in a suburban neighborhood full of kids—without informing anybody. So New Jersey passed laws to make people feel good and make politicians look tough on perverts. The result has been that a few guys are on a list, the vast majority of dangerous pedophiles are not on it, and a college student who "streaked" past the homecoming bonfire technically violated the new law (there were children under 10 present or something) and has been branded a "sex offender" for life. So when he graduates and applies for that nice job, he comes up on the list.

Princeton University used to have its co-ed "nude olympics" every year at the first snowfall. Maybe what stopped it was fear of being labeled a sex offender.

In the early 1950s, we discovered that Communist spies working on the atom bomb had supplied the Soviet Union with key information. Nobody had done a background check. What happened as a result is well known.

If ASA or NCAA told me I had to submit to a background check before I could umpire another youth game, I'd resist and try to get other officials to do the same, but in the end, neither I nor I suspect many other officials can afford to walk away.
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Old Sun Jan 21, 2007, 12:00am
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A few years ago I helped form a youth softball league. I was the group’s UIC. As part of the process all the people involved submitted to a background check by a state agency. Only one designated person in the group received the information. By law it could not be shared with anyone else. There was something in my background that turned the person’s head but it was not a cause for dismissing me from the group. To this day I have no idea what it was but I do know that whatever it was it was not sex related. After this I have never submitted to this process again and never will.

I certainly understand background checks for certain officers of a group and for those who are entrusted with the safety and well being of youth players. As an umpire or as a UIC only, I would never be in that position except to apply and enforce safety rules. My credit history, work history, school history, etc. have absolutely nothing to do with my umpiring and wouldn’t reveal any kind of predisposition to any kind of sexual aberration. Background checks for a previous pedophile would at best prevent a repeat offense. Only due diligence can prevent a new offense.

I was a youngster at the time of Senator McCarthy. I remember almost everyone thinking that there was at least one communist in every classroom, in every store, in every family, in every public gathering, etc. I was even led to believe that President Eisenhower was possibly a communist. Those feelings lasted well after Senator McCarthy left the senate.

If a school or organization required a background check of umpires I would not fight it. I just wouldn’t umpire for them. Fighting that kind of thinking and mind set is a lost cause. The supplemental income I get from umpiring would be missed but not worth the sacrifice.

There are and have been secure societies: Cuba, Russia, Germany. Would anyone umpire in them?

"He who sacrifices freedom for security deserves neither" - Benjamin Franklin
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Old Sun Jan 21, 2007, 02:15pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IRISHMAFIA
...snip... That said, I have changed my strategy. If this is ever presented, instead of walking away, I will fight this however I may.
Mike
This is the part of this discussion I like best. Problems are not solved by leaving/ignoring them.
Before I get off on a rant about privacy, I'll close.
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Old Sun Jan 21, 2007, 02:17pm
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Unfortunately, it is government that will be doing the background checks. Government will invariably miss many of the dangerous people and flag many innocent ones. Government just had Catherine Stevens, wife of U.S. Senator Ted Stevens, on its "no-fly" list. Oops, they meant the former Cat Stevens, who became a Moslem years ago. (And why would he be on the list, anyway?)

Let's not assign the checking of umpires' backgrounds to the same people who make up the no-fly list, and who arrest aged WW2 vets because the Civil War rifle over the fireplace technically fits the definition of "assault weapon." What's an umpire going to do anyway, molest a kid on the field? Does an umpire by virtue of his official position have any greater chance than anybody else in the park to commit a crime against a child?

Afterthought: It is almost certain that the governor of New Jersey is going to commute the death sentence of every murderer on death row. This includes the man who raped and murdered Megan Kanka. I would agree that, should that guy be released at some point in the future (not impossible in this state), he should not be allowed to umpire a kids' game.

CLBuffalo: As something of a student of the McCarthy era, I know of no actual accusation put forth that Eisenhower was or had been a Communist. The John Birch Society did say, however, that Eisenhower was "an unwitting tool of the Communist Party." And don't you have a right to see that report that had "turned somebody's head"? Incidentally, do you know that Hollywood once maintained a "blacklist" of anti-Communists?

PS. Arlen Specter did not have any ties to Senator Joseph McCarthy. Robert F. Kennedy acted as assistant counsel to Roy Cohn for McCarthy's senate committee.
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Last edited by greymule; Sun Jan 21, 2007 at 02:40pm.
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Old Sun Jan 21, 2007, 02:22pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greymule
Afterthought: It is almost certain that the governor of New Jersey is going to commute the death sentence of every murderer on death row. This includes the man who raped and murdered Megan Kanka. I would agree that, should that guy be released at some point in the future (not impossible in this state), he should not be allowed to umpire a kids' game.
My wife usually suggests child molesters be turned over to the parents, in a locked room armed with machetes.
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Old Sun Jan 21, 2007, 03:11pm
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BTW, let's not let the revelations from the released files of the KGB which show that McCarthy was correct about significant infiltration of US institutions by the KGB (and its predecessors, including the MGB) get in the way of a continuation of scapegoating him as evil incarnate.
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Old Sun Jan 21, 2007, 04:04pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greymule
CLBuffalo: As something of a student of the McCarthy era, I know of no actual accusation put forth that Eisenhower was or had been a Communist. The John Birch Society did say, however, that Eisenhower was "an unwitting tool of the Communist Party." And don't you have a right to see that report that had "turned somebody's head"? Incidentally, do you know that Hollywood once maintained a "blacklist" of anti-Communists?
As a youngster this was told to me by other youngsters and adults. I had no reason to think they were lying to me so I believed them, at least until I got older and learned to take things with a grain of salt.

No I didn't know there was a blacklist of anti-communists. I wonder what they were banned from doing.
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Old Sun Jan 21, 2007, 06:56pm
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BTW, let's not let the revelations from the released files of the KGB which show that McCarthy was correct about significant infiltration of US institutions by the KGB (and its predecessors, including the MGB) get in the way of a continuation of scapegoating him as evil incarnate.

You make a good point, Dakota. The released files are quite sobering. We now know that agents of the Soviet Union were indeed helping craft U.S. foreign policy, and that some of the people made out to be martyrs turned out to be traitors after all.

History certainly contains its ironies. In the 1946 Wisconsin Republican senate primary, McCarthy narrowly won the nomination from sitting four-term senator Robert La Follette. The margin of victory was provided by substantial help from Communists.
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Old Mon Jan 22, 2007, 07:52am
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When I asked this question last week, frankly I was surprised that no one else was "pieved" enough to already starta thread. Looks like many of us don't like the invasion, and where does the info ultimately go ?. Others are concerned about the kids. I think it stinks of POLITICAL CORRECTNESS.
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My 2nd question is what has Regional or National told you assigners to do with Umps that won't agree to a background investigation. Most assigners don't have enough Umps to cover all the games as it is.
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