Braves team officials sat down with members of Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow-PUSH Coalition on Monday to talk about the team’s lack of African-American players.
Rainbow-PUSH representative Joe Beasley said the Braves, and specifically GM John Schuerholz, could do more to recruit black players.
From the AJC:
“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,” said Beasley. “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.”
Maybe Beasley is right, although no team works harder at recruiting local players than the Braves (see Francouer, McCann, Davies).
But is it really a big deal that there aren’t many African American players in the MLB? There are plenty of dark skinned players. There are players from South America, Japan, Korea, Cuba, the Dominican Republic — the list goes on and on.
And there’s the rub: this isn’t about race, it’s about nationality. Rainbow-PUSH’s problem isn’t that there aren’t enough dark skinned players, it’s that there aren’t enough African-American players.
But so what? There aren’t nearly as many white players in the NBA these days, and of the handful that are left, many are foreign. But you don’t hear much complaining about that.
The truth is, Jackie Robinson’s legacy lives. He opened the door to players of color and, thanks to him, today baseball has a ton of players of color. It is one of the most diverse sports out there. That diversity just doesn’t happen to include many African-Americans. Which is a bummer. But it’s certainly not racism.
It must be a slow month at the Rainbow-PUSH offices.