Baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron isn’t impressed with the advances in race relations in the United States, comparing members of the GOP who stall President Obama’s initiatives to the Ku Klux Klan, USA Today Sports reports.
“Sure, this country has a black president, but when you look at a black president, President Obama is left with his foot stuck in the mud from all of the Republicans with the way he’s treated,” he told the news site. “We have moved in the right direction, and there have been improvements, but we still have a long ways to go in the country.”
“The bigger difference is that back then they had hoods,” he added, referring to the KKK attire. “Now they have neckties and starched shirts.”
The baseball legend may even see a little bit of himself in the president.
It has been four decades since he smashed Babe Ruth’s home run record, but Aaron still has some painful letters to remind himself of what the the country was like back then and how little things have actually changed.
“You are (not) going to break this record established by the great Babe Ruth if I can help it,” one of the menacing letters reads, according to USA Today Sports. “Whites are far more superior than jungle bunnies. My gun is watching your every black move.”
That the baseball legend—who eventually took Ruth’s record on April 8, 1974, with his 715th home run—would keep such horrific notes may not make sense to some, but Aaron preserves them for a reason.
“To remind myself that we are not that far removed from when I was chasing the record. If you think that, you are fooling yourself,” he told the news site. “A lot of things have happened in this country, but we have so far to go. There’s not a whole lot that has changed.”
Aaron, who is 80, was honored Tuesday night before a game featuring the Atlanta Braves—his original team—and the New York Mets for the 40th anniversary of his 715th home run, CBS Atlanta reports. He finished his career with 755, a record that stood until 2007, when Barry Bonds hit his 756th. But Bonds’ achievement has been overshadowed by allegations of illegal steroid use.