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jackson-brings-his-crucade-to-the-ted | May | 2007 Articles

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Jackson Brings His Crusade to The Ted

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As I'm sure you have all heard, Jessie Jackson and his Rainbow-PUSH Coalition along with many of the prominent African-American players have made the lack of African-American players a big issue as baseball celebrated the 60th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier. I am all for trying to revive the sport in the Black community by opening the inner-city baseball academies and such, but what is going on now is blowing past just trying to solve this "epidemic" as it has been called. This has become almost a witch hunt with Jackson trying to blame management for the lack of African-American players in the game. The recent AJC article just blew my mind though and even with such a controversial topic, I just feel I have to call them out on this. Joe Beasley, the Southern Regional Director of the Coalition met with Schuerholz and a couple other Braves officials for two hours at the request of the Coalition. Beasley made this comment afterwards:
"The team slipped ... down to [no African-Americans]; it wasn't something that just happened," Beasley said Monday afternoon. "I think it was a lack of diligence on the part of the Braves to recruit African-American players. There's not diminished enthusiasm for African-Americans playing baseball. It's simply the opportunity hasn't presented itself."
Number one Mr. Beasley, if Willie Harris isn't African-American then I don't know what he is. Not only is he African-American but he is one of the two players to come out of Cairo, GA; the other is Jackie Robinson. These are very harsh accusations to just throw around in a business where reputation matters very much. Baseball is a business, the front office's job is to field the best team they can within the budget constraints and not to field a team with a proportionate amount of different ethnicities and races. Beasley went on to say that if the team put more effort into scouting in the Atlanta area then they would find a lot of African-American talent. We don't scout enough players in the Area? How many teams have six players on the major-league roster from the state the team is in? This campaign has been going on since Jackie Robinson day. Since that time, major leaguers, coaches, etc. have all said that there is a need to instill the love of baseball in the Black community, which has tailed off in recent years. I have no problem with that and fully support it. The more kids that have the ability to play the game, the better. Jackson and his group have taken the stance that major league baseball, the front offices, and the likes are not giving them the same opportunities. This is where I really begin to disagree. The NBA and NFL are more than 80% African-American; should I think that it is because of racial intolerance? No, it just works out that those players happen to be the best of the best. Right now the gap between a first-year salary right out of the draft in the NBA and NFL, and the MLB is monumental, and with many of the African-American players coming out of not to great financial situations, you can't say that doesn't play a part. Those two sports are unfortunately taking over as America's pastime, while baseball is still the main sport on most every Latin island and in Venezuela as well as growing monumentally in Asia. Of course if more people are playing in those places, you are going to find more talent. Between this and Al Sharpton making the statements that Barry Bonds is being treated unfairly because he is an African-American (No, it's the cheating) and saying people don't want him to break the record because he is Black (Was Hank Aaron green?), I think they are bringing unnecessary racial issues into this game. Here is to two of the most racially intolerant public figures bringing their crusade to baseball; truly classy!

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