Cultural Revolutions

Replete With Racism

Baseball is reportedly replete with racism. Apparently concentrating on the World Series-bound Atlanta Braves was not enough for the Atlanta Constitution, for it came to the conclusion late last summer that the "White Game Is Alienating Many Blacks." The white game? The problem, said the newspaper, is that while black players are a satisfying 72 percent of the NBA and an OK 61 percent of the NFL, they are "only" 18 percent of Major League Baseball. Worse, only 6 percent of the fans are black.

The answer? Affirmative action, of course. Ball clubs, starting with the Atlanta Braves, were consequently being asked to recruit black fans, in part with cheaper tickets than whites can buy. And black players should be paid higher salaries than whites to raise that "low" 18 percent figure. Why the "under-representation" of blacks in baseball? Montreal Expos scouting director Gary Hughes said, "You just don't go play baseball. It's not enough to be naturally gifted like track or football. To be honest, I don't know how many black kids are willing to work hard enough at it to excel."

Racism! said Richard Lapchick, director of the Center for the Study of Sports in Society at Northeastern University. "That sounds typical of the stereotype that studies show have long been held about blacks: that they're too lazy, they can't swim, and they are innately less...

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