The Philadelphia Phillies baseball team signed former number 1 draft pick Delmon Young Tuesday despite initial reservations by the team’s general manager, Ruben Amaro.
The reason for his concern was that last year, while Young was a member of the Detroit Tigers, he had a high-profile altercation in New York in which he was accused of uttering an anti-Semitic slur while roughing up a tourist (who turned out not to be Jewish).
Young, who had no prior arrests, was sentenced to 10 days of community service for the incident. Amaro, whose mother is Jewish, expressed his reservations to CBSSports.com about signing Young, saying that the fact that anti-Semitism played a role in the arrest was a major issue for him.
“I’m part Jewish, so it’s a concern to me,” Amaro said in an interview.
But after meeting with Young he decided that it was an isolated incident.
According to CBSSports.com, Amaro said he talked to rabbis from Philadelphia and Detroit (the Detroit rabbi knows Young well, according to Amaro), the Philadelphia Anti Defamation League and Young himself before giving the player a chance.
“I certainly feel comfortable with the due diligence we put together. But it’s really up to Delmon to prove us right,” Amaro said.
Amaro pointed out that Young’s two agents, Arn Tellem and Joel Wolfe, are Jewish. But the key for Amaro was a meeting with Young, a “very long” meeting the two had a few weeks before signing him.
“I got a good feel for the player,” Amaro said.
“He’s not an anti-Semite. He made a mistake,” Amaro told CBSSports.com . “Hopefully, he can move on from that.”