Saturday, March 13, 2010

Reggie wrong to defend Torii comments

Reggie Jackson, well versed in controversy from his career with the New York Yankees, is wrong to defend Torii Hunter's comments about race in baseball.

I'm sick and tired of athletes or their defenders claiming that their comments were misinterpreted or misrepresented anytime they say something offensive. Hunter is a smart guy and he knew exactly what he was saying when he called Latin American ballplayers imposters and imitators. And he played into the worst kind of stereotype when he talked about getting Dominican ballplayers for a bag of chips.

First, Hunter should be grateful that he was raised in America, where he had the opportunity to get drafted and make a nice living playing baseball in the big leagues. Second, as the Aroldis Chapman contract proved, signing a talented Latin American player isn't cheap. Third, if it wasn't for Major League Baseball's eagerness to scout the globe for talented players, we might never have seen legendary players like Mariano Rivera, who will retire as the greatest closer ever.

Hunter's point about the dwindling number of African-American kids playing baseball and aiming for a major-league career is a good one, but it's obvious that he blames Latin American players in part for that trend and that's completely unfair. And it's not something Jackson should be defending, no matter how much he likes or sympathizes with Torii Hunter.

Thanks to ShawnKbell via Wikipedia for the photo.

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