Jesse Jackson's Rainbow Push coalition is calling out the braves for now only having 1 african american on the roster (it was zero). Here is my favorite line:
"As I expected, [Schuerholz?s] idea is the bottom line: I'll put the best 40 men I can get wherever I can get them from on the field, and that's fair. But the fact of the matter is if they put resources into recruiting here in the United States, and more specifically here in Atlanta, there are talented players here." You cant just build an infrastructure to recruit players. Major League Baseball has implementsed their initiative in Compton, but baseball player development takes a lot of time and money, and for the braves to do that in Atlanta, when they arent even guaranteed all of the fruits of that labor, is absurd.
What? the braves are going to put the best players on the field? GET OUT OF TOWN! Its not like this is a business or anything? You know what, there are no Jewish people on the braves roster - I think Atlanta needs to do a better job recruiting Jewish people.
This type of thing is so infuriating - there is a sense of entitlement eminating from Jesse Jackson's group that is mind boggling.
I completely agree with you Steven. I mean, seriously, PUSH has nothing better to do than waste two hours of the Braves GM's time about this? Organizations like PUSH, in their quest for change, never acknowledge the other side to issues which really hurt their credibility.
How about the fact that the Braves pour over one million dollars annually to local baseball outreach programs for inner-city kids? How about the fact that the Braves draft policy strongly favors local kids (Jeff Francoeur and Brian McCann are recent examples)? If you look at the statistics, both University of Georgia and Georgia Tech only have one black player on their teams. Georgia State (a predominantly black college I believe) only has three black players on the team. Maybe, just maybe, it's not the Braves' unwillingness to draft black players, but rather the fact that there just aren't very many good black players to choose from? PUSH should redirect its effort to investigating why the pool of black players has been shrinking as opposed to blaming them for only having one black player on the team....
Lance "Breakout" Thomas
Jimmy "Toy Cannon" Wynn complained about the same thing about the Astros a couple years back as well. To quote Hank Hill, "complete jack-assery"...
There are plenty of issues that need to be addressed regarding race in both sports and social settings in this country. THIS, is NOT one of them. What a ridiculous shame.
They are simply exploiting an opportunity to leverage the whole Jackie Robinson anniversary (which is TRUELY a great story and landmark acheivement for African-Americans) for their own publicity and "gain."
This whole thing was likely planned in a conference room before the season, with the meeting kicking off as follows, "Okay, as everyone knows, there will be a lot of focus on African Americans in baseball this year with the anniversary celebration of Jackie Robinson joining the league. We have a perfect opportunity here. Now, how can we stir things up?"
Jackie must be rolling over in his grave.
The Rainbow Push person stated that the first step to remedying the problem was firing the Braves manager, Bobby Cox.
If they post the interview, I'll post a link. UNREAL!
-Jason "when you start with something truly stupid and outrageous, even if you follow it with something reasonable, you look like an idiot" evans
This whole accusation is just STUPID!!! They might have a case if Braves had a history of not having many African American players, but they don't. Gary Sheffield, Brian Jordan, Kenny Lofton, Otis Nixon, Deion Sanders, Ray King, Fred McGriff, Ron Gant, etc. All of these are players that I grew up watching and I'm sure there are many more (these are just the ones that I thought of immediately.)
... at least by the logic of the PUSH representative.
Andruw does not count in the PUSH stats, as PUSH complained about the lack of US-born, African-Americans (Andruw is from Curaçao, IIRC).
Wilbon tore into this on PTI last night (near the end, right after Kornheiser says, "OK, Wilbon ..."). PTI should have a podcast up sometime soon.
One of the local sports-talk stations here in town did a segment with a Rainbow PUSH guy yesterday afternoon. It was funny how the guy just got skewered by the interviewers.
They asked him if he was concerned that the baseball teams of the historically black colleges are currently made up of less than 1/3rd African-Americans (mostly latino players). He said he is not concerned with college baseball, only pro.
He said he just wants the Braves to reflect the Atlanta community, which is 50% black. They asked him if he therefore wants the Hawks and Falcons to be 50% white and the Thrashers to be 50% black. He pretty much refused to answer that one.
When the station started taking calls, EVERY SINGLE CALLER said Jackson and PUSH were being idiots in this. There was not a single caller I heard who backed the Jackson position. There were plenty of African-American callers who said Jesse and his people have a lot more important stuff to worry about anyway.
I think you'll see Jesse back off of this issue really fast. He's got no public support on this one.
-Jason "sooo idiotic!" Evans
Anyway, the point is moot because everyone seems to agree this is absurd.
PS - for anyone who heard the radio interview from Monsters of the Midday - I assume Chuck Smith was there for it - did he have anything to say as an African American conducting the interview?
Chuck Smith (former Atlanta Falcon, very involved in the community with inner-city athletic programs) was insulted by the PUSH man, who made reference to Smith's ethnicity/heritage.
In my opinion, the exact words were inflammatory.
At that point, it got ugly very quickly. I want to say that the Bobby Cox comment came afterwards. I'd like to listen to it again to get the exact words and context. The interview was replayed this morning. I hope 790thezone.com will post it as a podcast. As Jason said, the callers afterwards were extremely supportive of Smith.
On PTI, Wilbon was strongly against PUSH on this issue.
Jemele (sp?) Hill, who writes for Page 2 on ESPN, and who wrote one of if not the bets Lax apology I read, was on 1st and 10 today. I think she took the position she did because it was her job to be a contrarian to Skip Bayless, but she was saying that the point is there needs to be more facilities made availabe to inner city kids like in the Dominican.
Sorry Jemele - those facilities are not running in the Dominican as a public service - they are there because they tend to be profitable. As soon as it is shown the same will result in the inner cities, I assure you, the facilities will be made more available in the US (ala the L.A. Baseball School)