"Blacks are fading from baseball"

Rise

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Heres an article in the St. Louis post dispatch today . Oh what a tragedy, how come there isnt any outcry about the whites fading from the NFL!!

<div style="font-size: 16px;" size="1">Blacks are fading from baseball</div><div style="font-size: 12px;" size="1" align="left">By Vahe Gregorian</div><div style="font-size: 12px;" size="1" align="left">ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH</div><div style="font-size: 12px;" size="1">06/18/2006


When U.S. Sen. Jim Talent co-sponsored legislation to proclaim May 20,
2006, as "Negro Leaguers Recognition Day," he had scant notion of its
true necessity or the paradox it entailed.



Nearly 60 years after Jackie Robinson burst through baseball's color
barrier, U.S.-born African-American players are virtually vanishing
from the game. Three decades after blacks made up nearly 30 percent of
major league rosters, they now make up about 8 percent  less than half
the 17.25 percent of 1959, the first year every team was integrated.



The trend has come home to roost on the roster of the Cardinals, who
currently have zero blacks on their major league roster and almost none
in their farm system.



"I didn't realize the numbers had shrunk so much," said Talent, R-Mo.

And there are other substantial indications black presence will further
ebb, from crumbling facilities in inner cities to the popularity and
exposure of sports such as football and basketball to the sheer expense
of playing at an elite youth level today. Together they have created
something bordering on apathy toward the game in much of the black
community.



"Enjoy that 8 percent on the field now," said Harry Edwards, an East
St. Louis native and sociologist and an outspoken voice on race in
sports for decades. "Because more than likely before we get to the
first quarter of the 21st century, you'll be looking out there on the
field and we'll be right back where we were when Jackie Robinson and
Roy Campanella and those guys were the only ones out there."



Not since that era, in 1953, have the Cardinals been without an
African-American. Since then, the franchise has enjoyed a legacy of
black icons such as Bob Gibson, Lou Brock, Ozzie Smith and Willie
McGee.



"It's not a Cardinals story; you'd have to be just nuts to think that,"
said Bob Costas, a sports broadcaster and baseball authority. "It's
just ironic, if that's the right word, that a team that has a rich
history regarding African-American stars now has none."



Edwards, who is black, calls the development an "unmitigated disaster"
for the black community. Some see it with less alarm but as
demoralizing.



"I wouldn't say it's like a bad thing or that it's intentional in any
way. But it just kind of makes me feel like baseball and possibly the
Cardinals aren't doing everything they can to keep the Cardinals
reflective of the hometown," said St. Louisan Hal Cox, 54, an
African-American educational advocate, who noted that St. Louis city's
population is 50 percent black. "So, yeah, it stands out, and it kind
of drops my enthusiasm for (following baseball) day in and day out." <div size="1" style="border: 1px solid rgb(33, 28, 28); padding: 4px; float: left; width: 250px; font-size: 12px;">
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RELATED STORIES</font></div>
<div style="font-size: 12px;" size="1">African-Americans are missing from the stands, too</div>
<div style="font-size: 12px;" size="1">At the grass-roots level, problems can be daunting</div>
</div>





He added: "We're talking about America's game. We had the tradition. And that's fading away."



Others see it as more of a quirk, a mere cycle or even a globalization
and immigration matter that mirrors broader domestic issues: As the
U.S. Hispanic population has ballooned to nearly 43 million, surpassing
African-Americans, foreign-born Hispanics made up nearly 25 percent of
opening-day rosters.



Whatever the precise reason and meaning, with Latinos making up 45
percent of minor league players and baseball groping to salvage
interest among blacks, the phenomenon won't change soon and even has a
name among the remaining blacks in the game  "blackout," Baltimore
reliever LaTroy Hawkins called it in USA Today.



<b style="font-size: 12px;" size="1">Cards' view [/b]



The Cardinals are conscious of the subject and, all else being equal,
would prefer a makeup "as diverse as possible," said team president
Mark Lamping. He notes that the Cardinals typically have had multiple
blacks as they strive to follow the prime directive of putting "players
on the field that our fans can be proud of."



But aligning a team, manager Tony La Russa said, is an elaborate
process that can't be compromised by racial considerations alone.



"You don't have the luxury of picking and choosing (by race). There's a
talent pool, and there are 30 teams going after that talent," said La
Russa, who has been a major league manager since 1979. "I mean, that
would be exactly the wrong message to send, to say, 'Well, gee whiz, we
better have a certain number of players from the Pacific Rim, a certain
number of Latin players, a certain number of black players, a certain
number of white players.'"



Unless the complexion of the team changes via trades, the pool won't be
altered through the farm system. The Cardinals have only one
African-American among their top 30 prospects as ranked by Baseball
America.



Meanwhile, like the rest of baseball, the Cardinals have been tilling
Latin America for talent and this year followed most franchises by
launching an academy in the Dominican Republic, where teams can
inexpensively exert control over prospects that they can't here.



The Cardinals media guide features 64 foreign-born players  including
61 of Hispanic birth  out of 188 listed in the team's minor leagues.



The media guide features 10 scouts in Latin American locales. It
depicts no African-American scouts among the 32 men pictured and one
black among the 47 featured in their farm and scouting department. But
Lamping scoffed when asked if more African-American scouts might mean
more African-American players.



"The presumption there would be that scouts are (seeking their own
race)," he said. "Scouts go a lot of places to find players, and the
way they distinguish themselves is by finding (players) others
overlooked."



<b style="font-size: 12px;" size="1">Performance [/b]



Coaches at all levels of the game agree that African-Americans aren't being overlooked. That's apparent by many measures.



According to the National Recreation and Park Association Journal of
Leisure Research, a survey of 128 youth "select" teams from nine
Midwestern states in 2000 and 2001 found that less than 2 percent of
the more than 1,400 players were African-American. Sports Illustrated
is among other publications to document similar scenes.



In St. Louis, the Public High League typically features largely raw players.



"(Baseball) is pretty rough in the PHL," said PHL athletics director
Dave Cook. "The kids don't really get started on it at an early age
like they used to."



In East St. Louis, home to Olympians and state championships in many
sports, East St. Louis High has lost its last 82 Southwestern
Conference games, all to schools from largely white communities.



Meanwhile, the NCAA reports that blacks make up only 6 percent of
Division I baseball rosters. Most telling, historically black schools
such as Mississippi Valley State, Florida A&amp;M and much of the
Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference have rosters approaching 50 percent
white.



Local Division I schools St. Louis University, Missouri, Missouri
State, Illinois and Southern Illinois Carbondale each had no blacks
this year. Southeast Missouri State had one, Chris Gibson, son of Bob
Gibson.



"We've had, I think, three in a total of 18 years," said SLU coach Bob
Hughes, who has at least one black signee for next year. "And it's not
for lack of effort. I think all of us would tell you the same."



<b style="font-size: 12px;" size="1">Matter of choice [/b]



On the surface, the development seems purely a matter of choice.



"It's not offensive," said Gerald Early, an African-American Washington
University professor and essayist who served as an adviser on Ken
Burns' exhaustive documentary on the game. "It's not because they're
being segregated out, or people think they can't play. They can if they
want to, but they're opting not to play."



Phil Bradley, special assistant to the executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, agreed.



"The point is there's not a lot out there," said Bradley, a former
Mizzou football and baseball star. "I don't know that I can hold an
organization accountable for that. I just think it's a matter of if
they aren't out there, they can't be seen."



While Bradley laments the development, few seem deeply agitated by it.



"Don't get somebody just because they're black and they can't play,"
Damon Griffin, 36, an African-American who works for AT&amp;T, recently
said at Busch Stadium.



Alongside, friend and co-worker Dale Parks, 37, also African-American,
said, "We want the best team, the best players. I really don't mind (no
African-Americans)."



To add black players just to have them, Parks added, "would be an insult."



To some, the Cardinals have black players in the form of Dominican-born Albert Pujols, Juan Encarnacion and Hector Luna.



"I count 'em, myself," said Stan Webb, 51, a St. Louis engineer and
business owner who is African-American. "They're people of color, OK?
And they have similar conditions that we have in our community."



Observers aren't suggesting that baseball is racist in determining the
makeup of its rosters. Considering that Latinos, African-Americans and
Asians make up 35-40 percent of its players, baseball seldom has been
more inclusive or egalitarian. Baseball isn't trying to exclude
African-Americans. It simply isn't attracting as many as it would like.




<b style="font-size: 12px;" size="1">Overall interest [/b]



Yet the development is unsettling in several contexts, including what
it says about overall interest in America's one-time pastime.



"I go to barbershops here in north St. Louis and the inner city, and
they talk about football all day long. They talk about basketball all
day long," said Early, who remembers that kind of buzz about baseball

in the 1950s and '60s. "Now, they don't talk about baseball with
anywhere near the same knowledge or intensity."



A Harris Poll released in December 2005 noted that only 6 percent of
African-Americans chose baseball as their favorite sport. By contrast,
47 percent chose pro football, reflecting a broader problem for
baseball, which overall trailed the NFL 33 percent to 14 percent.
Twenty years ago in the same poll, the NFL's overall edge was 24
percent to 23 percent.



And according to the Sporting Goods Manufacturing Association, in 2005
baseball was the 18th-most popular participation sport among children
of all races ages 6-17, with 5,949,000 playing nationally. Bowling was
No. 1 with 17,035,000 and basketball was No. 2 with 15,994,000. Also
ahead of baseball were in-line skating (sixth) and skateboarding
(10th).



"There are so many different things trying to get your attention," said
Jimmie Lee Solomon, who as MLB's vice president is in charge of the
game's efforts to revive interest. "When I was growing up, you had
three channels. My daughter has more than 100, not to mention video
games, PlayStations, the Xboxes."



Yet the ripples into baseball are far more dramatic among blacks, a
matter of particular poignancy considering the crusade and suffering it
took to achieve their place in the game and the abundant contributions
they've made since.



"Black Americans are a proud and significant part of the history of the
game," Costas said, adding, "If you care about baseball, you want the
best black players, white players, Hispanic players . . ."



But for African-Americans, it's distressing because of the reality that
the decision not to play baseball at some level actually is a symptom
of the vicious cultural and economic traps in poverty-stricken inner
cities. Edwards sees a connection between avoiding what he described as
chaos and baseball's preference to cultivate Latin America.



"It is cheaper, it is more efficient and there (are) less social and
cultural encumbrances," said Edwards, who as director of parks and
recreation in Oakland was horrified by the crippling influence of
gangs. "They don't have to send scouts into African-American
communities, which still today are substantially segregated and
increasingly violent."



<b style="font-size: 12px;" size="1">Competition [/b]



What may seem a rapid downward spiral of participation has origins that
go back at least a generation and has been observable for more than a
decade. After making up 27.5 percent of teams in 1975, blacks
represented less than 20 percent in the '90s and 15 percent or below
since 1997  when the Dodgers featured one black player, reserve Wayne
Kirby, in the 50th anniversary of their breakthrough with Robinson.



Perhaps counterintuitively, Early has suggested that the seeds of the
change lay in the demise of the Negro Leagues  which by extension
hints that the downturn began with . . . integration. As their galaxy
of stars was absorbed into the major leagues, the Negro Leagues
couldn't flourish. With the termination of that institution in 1960
also went tradition, sentimentality and other cultural rallying points.




For a time, the freshness of new opportunity created a new wave of
pride and interest as black stars came to disproportionately dominate
the game. But by the early 1980s came a surge of deterrents or
competing interests.



Among the forces: the shrewd marketing and rapid ascension of
basketball, the continued rise of football, the decay and neglect of
inner-city facilities and, more recently, the coming of an elite age of
sports specialization, travel leagues, camps and clinics.



"Some of the reasons are just societal. Some of them are (lack of)
urban development," MLB's Solomon said. "Some of them have to do with
our focus in Latin America. Some has to do with Michael Jordan becoming
an icon  the most popular athlete on the planet and playing a
competing sport that really lends itself to small space in urban areas.




"Those things kind of all got together and started to kind of happen in
such a way that a lot of African-Americans didn't look toward
baseball."



Not with basketball being more accessible in many ways, from the
omnipresence of courts to the ease of playing with fewer numbers or
even alone.



Conversely, baseball requires green space and maintenance, Solomon
said. Not to mention uniforms, gloves, bats and even registration fees.
To become an elite player today means participating in programs that
can be prohibitively expensive for families with little financial
wiggle room.



And then there's time, both in terms of the meandering pace of the game
and the often lengthy apprenticeships in the minor leagues.



If you're a 17-year-old basketball or football marvel, you see ample
and instant opportunity  whether through the example of LeBron James
or the glamour of the NCAA Tournament or college football's pipeline to
the NFL.



If you're a 17-year-old baseball star, you can hope to be drafted  and
taste several years of obscurity in the minors starting in, say,
Johnson City, Tenn. Or you can hope for a partial college scholarship,
since college baseball teams typically divide their allotted 11 among
several players.



<b style="font-size: 12px;" size="1">Awareness [/b]



La Russa said he believes the crux of it all is "an awareness issue."



"How many LeBron Jameses are there? Once a generation," he said. "I
think it would be in (black athletes') best interests to re-evaluate.
Because the opportunities in baseball . . . the money, the freedoms,
the number of guys who make it vs. basketball or tennis or even
football, the length of your career, I mean, I definitely think we can
compete with anybody."



MLB is trying to address awareness. It has spent millions on the
Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities, or RBI, program, and millions more
on the Baseball Tomorrow Fund (in conjunction with the players
association) for field development and equipment purchases. It's
donated $500,000 to the Little League Urban Initiative program in the
last three years.



RBI, whose mission is to serve disadvantaged youths, currently has more
than 90,000 teens 13 and older involved in 200 baseball programs
worldwide, Solomon said, most of which are in the United States. While
the percentage of blacks in Major League Baseball has been cut in half
since the program's inception in 1989, the program must be understood
as "a long-developing pipeline," sports ethicist Richard Lapchick said.




And it has had some impact as it takes further root. More than 100 RBI
participants have been drafted, including current major leaguers Jimmy
Rollins of Philadelphia and Dontrelle Willis of Florida, as well as the
2005 overall No. 1 pick, Justin Upton, who was taken by Arizona.



Baseball also launched this year its first U.S. academies, in Compton,
Calif., and Atlanta, meant to stoke interest in all aspects of the game
 including umpiring, scouting, turf management and public relations â€â€
as well as academic achievement and citizenship.



The Cardinals work with RBI and through Cardinals Care have a Redbird
Rookies program. Lamping said they have interest in an academy but that
winter weather in St. Louis is a disincentive.



While it's too early to assess MLB's ventures, they are part of what
seems to be a conscientious enterprise by an entity that recently has
been maligned, particularly lately for its inability to deal with
performance-enhancing drugs.



"This is one where I don't really blame baseball," Costas said.
"They've really made an effort to reach out. Certainly, baseball hasn't
turned its back."



Yet more seems needed.



"It's a partial response," Edwards said. "If baseball were as
aggressive in this country relative to African-Americans as (it is in
Latin America), the situation would be turned around substantially."

In the meantime, wilting in the blackout is the remarkable legacy of
Robinson and the Negro Leaguers whose desire to play "could not be
repressed"  as Talent's measure put it.



At Busch last month with the Colorado Rockies, former Cardinals
reliever Ray King noted MLB retired Robinson's No. 42 and promotes his
deeds and influence.



Wistfully looking to the future, King said, "But how can you promote something that there's really nothing there to promote?" "
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Edited by: Rise
 

Don Wassall

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Maybe it has something to do with the fact that blacks aren't as good at baseball asCaste Systempropaganda makes them out to be, and also that there aren't nearly as many great black athletes in this country as most people assume.


These Disappearing Negro baseball stories are soooo boring. They're interchangeable, as if all written by the same person -- and given the dull similarity of Caste System propaganda in a way they are.
 

Gary

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I don't care if there are any blacks in baseball or not, if blacks don't come to the ballparks because no blacks are on the team and they can't cheer for there own isn't that RACISM!! How many people are happy about the DIVERSITY now in boxing? Or are Russians the wrong color for them.White people will attend football and basketball games even when there are few White players in the game.Blacks must be really RACIST if they won't pay to see men of other races play [Ice Hockey draws very few blacks to the games].I want to see whole baseball teams full of White players like the great Yankee teams of the 50's and early 60's.
 

whiteCB

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Gotta love that Bob Castas. NOT! I hate that little weiner that never played sports(or at least was good at them) a day in his life. Where's the article on the extinct white CB or HB.
 

white is right

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They didn't have a funeral for the jewish b baller so they shouldn't have one for the drying up black outfielder. I just think it's a sign of the obvious urban mess that ghetto neighbourhoods have become. But then again black boxers in the heavier weight classes are drying up too....
smiley36.gif
 
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There are plenty of blacks in baseball, they just speak Spanish now. If I spoke Japanese that does not make me Asian, same thing with any language you speak. Regardless you still are whatever race you are. The way the mainstream press seeks to blur racial lines is appalling and sad. Even the average joe can still most latin american players are racially black or mulatto.
 

white is right

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They tend to blur them for political reasons, or pc non offensive reasons. Ie when the white/caucasin Canseco claims he was being discriminated against for racial reasons. I never heard one media member challenge him on this myth.......
smiley5.gif
Edited by: white is right
 

Don Wassall

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Baseball Fan said:
There are plenty of blacks in baseball, they just speak Spanish now. If I spoke Japanese that does not make me Asian, same thing with any language you speak. Regardless you still are whatever race you are. The way the mainstream press seeks to blur racial lines is appalling and sad. Even the average joe can still most latin american players are racially black or mulatto.


Good points. The whole "hispanic" thing is wielded in all kinds of ways that reek of misinformation and distortion. There are more than a few "hispanic" baseball players who are completely white but I don't know how many average Joes realize this. Jose Canseco could walk down any street where he isn't known and people will assume he is white. There are many others.


We can't expect honesty from the corporatemedia in regard to any issue about race.
 

Deacon

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Why do people care that black Americans aren't playing baseball. Who the hell gives a sh*t?!
 

Deacon

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Baseball Fan said:
There are plenty of blacks in baseball, they just speak Spanish now.
Exactly. I recall a report that grades diversity for each baseball team and they said that the Boston Red Sox has no African-Americans. Therefore they were graded the worst. But if you look at the team they have Manny and David Ortiz in the starting lineup and probably the two best players on the team. But If they're not african-American they don't count in the PC game. They're just trying to weed out the White boys.
 

Rise

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Here we go again. Another article posted from ESPN about the MLB at 'crisis' with lack of black players.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2798719

Although this is the typical propaganda that ESPN spews, I was somewhat surprised by the sheeple responses in the comment section of this article (lots of talk about double standards, lack of whites in the NBA and NFL, ect.)
 

white is right

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Rise said:
Here we go again. Another article posted from ESPN about the MLB at 'crisis' with lack of black players.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2798719

Although this is the typical propaganda that ESPN spews, I was somewhat surprised by the sheeple responses in the comment section of this article (lots of talk about double standards, lack of whites in the NBA and NFL, ect.)
My favorite quote is this..."That's amazing. That's unbelievable," he said. "I don't think people understand that there is a problem. They see players like Jose Reyes and Carlos Delgado and just assume that they're black." I guess they must be green.....
smiley36.gif
 

Bart

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That is funny. Why would anyone assume Delgadoand Reyes areblack?


delgado_carlos030926.jpg
jose_reyes_GI.jpg
 

texasheat

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Hey, Rise, thanks for posting that link to the ESPN reader comments. I almost felt like I was reading a 2nd version of the Caste Football message board. Y'know, there's a helluva lot more people out there that feel the same way as us on this board ... they just need to find out about this website.
 

JoeV

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There was a lot of pimping this message board on that comment section. Someone copied and pasted the words right from the top of the homepage in one comment.
smiley36.gif
 

Don Wassall

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They have a ways to go before they have the understanding of how things work that we do here, but it's heartening to see a fair amount of people at least challenging the standard party line. The Caste System is so one-sided and unfair that more and more people will continue to see through the unopposed corporate media propaganda that props it up.
 
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Personally after looking at that picture of Reyes, reinforces my thought of him being a homosexual. You never hear of him having a girlfriend then again he might be playing the field both ways.
 

Freedom

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I think there should be an outcry about Americans fading from baseball. "Black" and "African American" have become one in General American dialects in this country. "Cape Verdeans" from Cape Verde are black, but most don't consider themselves African Americans as they have their own culture. The same goes for other immigrants from Africa. So I guess if Obama played baseball, he wouldn't count as black despite his look.
There is absolutely no outcry for white American players and white Americans are public enemy number one. Attack a white American, you'll always have a few supporters. The really sad thing is that they'll be other whites probably.
 

Lance Alworth

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The whole thing is so retarded. The "geniuses" at ESPN must not have heard of the slave trade and that it wasnt just the US that imported slaves from Africa. In fact most of the slaves went to the Caribbean and South America, NOT the US. But you wont hear the PC motormouths at ESPN mention that will you? This is why so many Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, and Cubans are black, because those Spanish speaking countries imported them just like every other country in the new world did. But because those blacks speak Spanish and have Spanish names, they are lumped into the "hispanic" category. This is just another way for the powers that be to blacken a traditional white sport. Yeah, just what we need, more baseball versions of TO's and Kobe Bryants
 

Rise

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Sheffield has theory why fewer blacks play MLB:

The percentage of African-Americans playing Major League Baseball is at an all-time low and Gary Sheffield says he has a theory why that's the case.

In an interview with GQ magazine that's currently on newsstands, the typically outspoken Tigers designated hitter said Latin players have replaced African-Americans as baseball's most prevalent minority because they are easier to control.

"I called it years ago. What I called is that you're going to see more black faces, but there ain't no English going to be coming out. ... [It's about] being able to tell [Latin players] what to do -- being able to control them," he told the magazine.

"Where I'm from, you can't control us. You might get a guy to do it that way for a while because he wants to benefit, but in the end, he is going to go back to being who he is. And that's a person that you're going to talk to with respect, you're going to talk to like a man.

"These are the things my race demands. So, if you're equally good as this Latin player, guess who's going to get sent home? I know a lot of players that are home now can outplay a lot of these guys."

According to a 2005 report by the University of Central Florida Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, only 8.5 percent of major leaguers were African American -- the lowest percentage since the report was initiated in the mid-1980s. By contrast, whites comprised 59.5 percent of the majors' player pool, Latinos 28.7 percent and Asians 2.5.


espn
 

Skipperron

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I will never forget watching ESPN many years back and they were interviewing a black fan. He said he pulls for black players only. And he said he doesn't go to many games. He said blacks like to watch sports where the stars look, talk, dress and act like he does. Not one eyebrow was raised, not one question was asked and not one mention of racism or bigotry was mentioned. I knew then if it had been a white man saying the same thing a ton of grief would have ensued. Why is it not ok for me to pull for someone who looks like me, talks like me etc. etc. etc. too. Edited by: Skipperron
 

SeaJim

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Skipperron said:
I will never forget watching ESPN many years back and they were interviewing a black fan. He said he pulls for black players only. And he said he doesn't go to many games. He said blacks like to watch sports where the stars look, talk, dress and act like he does. Not one eyebrow was raised, not one question was asked and not one mention of racism or bigotry was mentioned. I knew then if it had been a white man saying the same thing a ton of grief would have ensued. Why is it not ok for me to pull for someone who looks like me, talks like me etc. etc. etc. too.

That is why this white boy roots for the white players. I also voted for all white players for the All Stars as well.
 

bigunreal

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What a broken record; black athlete makes idiotic, ignorant, virulently racist comments and no one cares. Gary Sheffield is truly one of the worst of all the total derelicts that now rule all the major professional sports. Let's all say it together; just imagine what would happen to any white athlete who said the same things Sheffield did. I haven't been able to stand Major League Baseball for quite some time now, but on the rare occasions I catch a minute or two of highlights on ESPN or a moment of a live game, all I seem to see are black faces on the field.
 

Skipperron

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Location
Florida
I was watching baseball with my mother the other night and I starting saying to her "now that is not a black man" everytime a black skinned hispanic came up, and she would look at me and say what are you talking about? but that is how they come up with the stupid 8% figure for blacks in baseball. They are only counting black "Afro-Americans" as black. Then under the hispanic group all hispanics are grouped together, white or black. If you simply listed all black skinned individuals playing ball, the figure would be closer to 23-25 % black, not 8%.Edited by: Skipperron
 
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