By now, just about everyone in society, NFL fan or not, is aware of the Colin Kaepernick controversy. Refusing to stand for the national anthem, the trend has taken a rise within other sports. From the NFL to Women’s soccer to others, one sport I have noticed this hasn’t taken a toll on is the MLB, and I wasn’t the only one who noticed.
On Wednesday, Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones hit the nail on the head when he said this isn’t a trend in the MLB, simply because “it’s a white man’s sport”. While the comment he may have made was straight the point, one individual who called his comments “absurd” happened to be Arizona Diamondbacks manager Tony La Russa.
“When he says it’s a white, like, elitist kind of sport, I mean how much wronger can he be?” La Russa told LeBatard. “We have tried so hard, MLB, to expand the black athletes’ opportunity. We want the black athletes to pick not basketball or football, but want them to play baseball – they should play baseball. And we’re working to make that happen in the inner cities.”
I had to stop and take a second glance at this, only because how much wronger could he be? La Russa claims that blacks have an equal chance to make in the MLB, yet the ones signing the paychecks are all white men (with exception to three minority owners). As for the players themselves, the only Arizona Diamondbacks player on the 25-man roster of African-American descent is second baseman Rickie Weeks.
While the MLB actually has come a long way from where it once way, they are actually one of the least diverse sports on the planet. Back in 1975, the number of African-American players in the MLB reportedly was at 27%. Today, that number going into 2016 hit a whopping 8.5%, an 18.5% decrease. Now if you look into the study closely, you’ll find a lot of flaws within the research, as many reports have come out to claim that the number of black players back in the 70’s never exceeded 19%.
Tony La Russa has just about no facts to back up his statement, and I’m baffled that someone with that type of power in the media would make such a claim. The numbers and studies are behind the assumption that baseball is predominantly run by whites, even if the opportunities are equal for all.
Is it possible that there are just other players of different backgrounds that are better than the current African-American prospects? Sure, but the fact that La Russa could make such an ignorant comment about something he is essentially blind to is what is making this such a hot topic.