I’m a Dodgers fan. I have been since I was a kid. When the new baseball season was about to start, they announced that they were, once again, signing Andrew Toles to a contract for no money, even though he wouldn’t play for the organization in any way. They were doing this so that he could maintain access to health insurance for treating bipolar and schizophrenia.
As the Mighty points how though, this is a feel-good story that isn’t something we should feel good about.
For the Dodgers, it is a genuinely good gesture to keep Toles on the roster so he can access medical benefits that he needs for treatment. But it paints more of a dystopian picture of our social safety nets as a country. Where someone who could benefit from the basic human support is instead turned into a feel-good story about an organization worth $4.8 billion who is offering no other financial assistance.
As they say, good for the Dodgers to at least provide access to medical care. It is the bare minimum, but at least it’s something. Moreover, why do we live in a world where that is required? As I said a few years back about Delonte West and Mark Cuban:
It shouldn’t require being a former NBA star with a connection to a billionaire owner to get help. Good for them for making this happen, but what do all the people living on the streets with serious mental illness who aren’t former professional athletes get? Where do they go? Who is finding them and taking them to rehab instead of jail? Why isn’t there a resource that doesn’t require this level of intervention?
That’s the question we need to ask ourselves. Great, the Dodgers are keeping him under “contract” so he has medical coverage that helps him as an individual. What happens to everyone else in the same boat? Who’s getting them treatment and the coverage to pay for it?