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Lack of African-Americans in Baseball A Matter of Choice, Not Racism

Apr 16, 2013 -- 10:52am

 

Major League Baseball executives are concerned that only 7.7% percent of the players on opening day rosters are American blacks, the lowest percentage since 1959. A MLB task force has been formed to find answers as to why so few American blacks play the game.

I can save the task force a lot of time and money. Why are so few American blacks playing baseball? Because most American black athletes are more attracted to football and basketball. Check out the rosters on NFL and NBA teams and you’ll find an inordinate number of American black athletes.

It really is quite simple to understand.

I don’t buy the arguments that it’s based on lack of opportunity or the color of one’s skin. Obviously some of baseball’s greatest players were and are American blacks – from Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays and Hank Aaron to David Price, Prince Fielder to Matt Kemp. And, of course, most MLB rosters are loaded with blacks from Central America, the Caribbean Islands and South America.

The NBA has the problem in reverse. There are only a handful of American whites in the Association, but again I don’t think it’s about race. If it was, then how do you explain the NBA having so many European whites?

Now I understand why MLB wants to reverse the trend. It is certainly in baseball’s best interest to attract our country’s best athletes. No doubt there are NFL and NBA players who would have been MLB stars if they’d picked baseball rather than football and basketball as youngsters.

The bottom line is some people will try to make this an issue of racism and I’m not buying it. Yes, there is racism in the world, but sports are perhaps the most color-blind part of our world. That doesn’t mean the sports world is without racists but first and foremost sports are about who can perform at the highest level, period.

It’s baseball’s loss than more American blacks aren’t drawn to the sport, but it isn’t because of anything baseball has done or not done. 

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