Wednesday, May 9, 2007

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Rainbow/PUSH goes off the deep end

As a recent academic study of NBA referees demonstrates, there's no question that race is something to be talked about in sports. Clearly, according to an ESPN/ABC poll, African-Americans view Barry Bonds' pursuit of the home run record in ways different than whites. Those differences are worthy of conversation, debate, and maybe even a bit of learning on both sides.

However, is it possible for sports fans of all races to agree that, according to this Atlanta-Journal Constitution story by Carroll Rogers, Rainbow/PUSH has offiially gone way, way off the reality-based reservation?:

Upset over the lack of African-Americans on the [Atlanta] Braves roster, members of Jesse Jackson's Rainbow-PUSH Coalition asked for a meeting with team officials. They got one Monday.

Joe Beasley, Southern Regional Director for the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, said he and Dexter Clinkscale, the director of sports for the organization, met Monday morning for nearly two hours with Braves general manager John Schuerholz, assistant general manager Frank Wren and three other Braves officials.

"The team slipped ... down to [no African-Americans]; it wasn't something that just happened," Beasley said Monday afternoon. "I think it was a lack of diligence on the part of the Braves to recruit African-American players. There's not diminished enthusiasm for African-Americans playing baseball. It's simply the opportunity hasn't presented itself."....

Less than 10 percent of major league players are African-Americans. In a recent interview on the subject, Schuerholz said: "You go to where the talent leads you. Finding major league-caliber baseball players is far too difficult if you try to narrow your criteria down to demographics."

Countered Beasley, "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 slipped down to nothing, now you've got one, we expect it to start going up higher," Beasley said was the sentiment he voiced in the meeting. "We want to see incrementally it move back up, rather than moving down. There was an openness on [Schuerholz's] part to talk and to be in dialogue and hopefully be in partnership in trying to make sure that it happens. He was very nice, a gentleman. I'm going to hold him to his word to work with us and move those numbers back up to a respectable level." (emphases added)

For those in the audience sympathetic to affirmative action: is there any way to interpret Beasley's statements as anything other than a demand for a quota of African-Americans to be on the Atlanta Braves' 25-man roster?

Is there any way to interpret these comments without arriving at the conclusion that Rainbow/PUSH is run by idiots?

Seriously, I want to know.

posted by Dan on 05.09.07 at 11:55 AM


How do you measure the success of affirmative action without some numbers? By your analysis, every affirmative action initiative would be considered a quota.

And no, there's nothing idiotic about Rainbow/PUSH - Jackson are doing what the face of any organization does: they meet with the big-ups, get in the papers, and put some added pressure for their cause on the margins.

Of course, the Atlanta Braves only real incentive to follow-suit is political (or possibly ethical, 'gasp!'). As I believe has been discussed on this blog before, getting african-american kids to play baseball again is much bigger and meetings and press conferences won't achieve it. I don't think Rainbow/PUSH are idiots, so perhaps this is part of a wider solution to that issue.

posted by: Drew on 05.09.07 at 11:55 AM [permalink]


This may be a question of who is using who, and ever since John Rocker, the Braves have had a bit of a race problem, Hank Aaron notwithstanding.

The Braves are well known for their ability to scout talent. If the resources of PUSH can be utilized to find some hot prospects the other scouts aren't seeing, the Braves will be happy and their minor league system will remain well stcked. As for affirmative action on the roster -- um, no.

posted by: Appalled Moderate on 05.09.07 at 11:55 AM [permalink]

"...ever since John Rocker, the Braves have had a bit of a race problem..."

That's nonsense. Exactly what race problem have the Braves had since they axed Rocker?

posted by: Hawkeye on 05.09.07 at 11:55 AM [permalink]

Affirmative action by Rainbow/PUSH is not idiocy, because they have successfully demonstrated for years that their form of 'moral' economic blackmail is effective. Essentially, their success uses 'victimhood' as a business plan, and corporate America signs up as paying customers and clients of the discriminating anti-discrimination paradigm.

But, discrimination is discrimination. Whether discriminating for race (affirmative action against the Atlanta Braves) or against race (Jim Crow laws in Atlanta), the inescapable result of racial discrimination is the perpetuation of hate. Racial discrimination is a form of Exclusion, and we humans initially resent, then grow bitter against, and eventually will develop a hard hate for whatever or whomever denies our natural sense of being human by Exclusion.

Affirmative action is a 'moral' form of justice for past wrongs that actually 'flips' morality; it is a mirror reflection of racial hate, and it is no "idiocy" for Rainbow/PUSH to adopt affirmative actions so long as its blackmailing flip of morality pays so well.

posted by: a Duoist on 05.09.07 at 11:55 AM [permalink]

The current thinking on affirmative action is no longer to right past wrongs; rather that diversity is a desireable goal in and of itself. Maybe so. I think someone should look into the dramatic underrepresentation of asians in all professional sports.

posted by: DevilsAdvocate on 05.09.07 at 11:55 AM [permalink]

The current thinking on affirmative action is no longer to right past wrongs; rather that diversity is a desireable goal in and of itself. Maybe so. I think someone should look into the dramatic underrepresentation of asians in all professional sports.

posted by: DevilsAdvocate on 05.09.07 at 11:55 AM [permalink]

If this is how it works, then every NBA team has a serious lack of Latinos. We need more Latinos in the NBA, and Eskimos, and Native Americans, and.....

It gets pretty absurd now doesn't it.

(Is Rainbow/Push still paying Jesse's mistress?)

posted by: save_the_rustbelt on 05.09.07 at 11:55 AM [permalink]

Well, if they had axed Rocker for his statements instead of his sudden lack of performance, they would have done better. That's why they had a bit of a perception problem.

Re-looking at the stement by PUSH, the real problem they have is not the number of non-whites on the team, but the number of non-American non-whites on the team. The issue isn't affirmative action, Dan. It's protectionism.

posted by: Appalled Moderate on 05.09.07 at 11:55 AM [permalink]

Is there ever going to be a point where race doesn't matter? It's hard to argue that blacks have less opportunity in sports than whites, latinos or anyone else. What if black kids just don't want to play the sport? Is there anything wrong with that? Clearly, economic resources are not necessary to play, as most latin players grow up in communities far poorer than any US city and still manage to have sufficient equipment to learn the game. And scouts are scouring all over the world to find good players. It's hard to believe that they are passing up many skilled candidates at home.

posted by: wcb on 05.09.07 at 11:55 AM [permalink]

Rainbow/PUSH gets a press release out of this, nothing more. The Braves win nearly every year, and John Schuerholz is recognized as one of the guys who make that possible. When they start losing, people might get interested in protesting the racial mix on the roster.

If Rainbow/PUSH wanted to do a protest march in Miami demanding that the Marlins trade Dontrelle Willis to Atlanta, though, that would be pretty cool.

posted by: Zathras on 05.09.07 at 11:55 AM [permalink]

Andruw Jones dosen't count. Simply amazing.

posted by: David Pinto on 05.09.07 at 11:55 AM [permalink]

Andruw Jones dosen't count.

Born in Curacao, baby. Apparently the Braves are discriminating against African-Americans in favor of African-Dutch.

posted by: A.S. on 05.09.07 at 11:55 AM [permalink]

Let's also remember that those bigots in the Braves front office apparently don't mind African-Colobian (Renteria) or African-Dominican (Soriano). They are just bigoted against African-Americans.

posted by: A.S. on 05.09.07 at 11:55 AM [permalink]

Why is this even under discussion? Rainbow/PUSH are doing exactly what the diversity industry does, in every industry it can. Every university, for instance, runs recruiting, measurement of diversity, awarding of scholarships, and hiring in exactly the way Rainbow/PUSH want the Atlanta Brave to be run. Every government agency in this country does the same thing. Are you shocked that diversity is what diversity is? Or that it is what it is in the sports industry, too?


posted by: sk on 05.09.07 at 11:55 AM [permalink]

Let the Braves sponsor some new and/or improved diamonds in the black parts of Atlanta and other nearby cities. Some free and/or lower-priced tickets for inner-city youth wouldn't hurt either. It's good community relations, encourages black kids to play baseball, and helps build the next generation of fans.

It won't happen, of course.

posted by: Mike Schilling on 05.09.07 at 11:55 AM [permalink]

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