Let’s be honest: Major League Baseball is white as shit.
Unlike its peers, it’s the only U.S. professional sport where less than 10 percent of its participants are Black. It’s also the only U.S. professional sport where more than 60 percent of its players are white. As such, this easily makes it the most conservative sport in Trump’s America and serves as a special type of hell for Black people who have the audacity to hurl knuckle balls or hit RBIs for a living.
“You can play baseball a long time, have a lot of fun, and make a lot of money. But right now, this sport is not for us, and we know that,” former New York Yankees star C.C. Sabathia recently wrote in his new memoir, Till the End. “ If the game doesn’t change, it’s going to be in trouble, and not just with Black people.”
MLB superstar Mookie Betts made similar claims in March when he detailed the struggles of being Black in such an overwhelmingly white sport. In speaking with GQ, he explained why MLB’s response to the officer-related death of George Floyd—a response that took nine whole days and failed to include the words “Black Lives Matter”—was so tepid.
“I feel like we just kept going as if nothing happened,” he said. “I don’t think the MLB was really worried about that. Because if all the Black players in the MLB sat out, they wouldn’t miss a beat.”
So with this underlying racial dynamic throughout the league serving as a backdrop, now comes the news that the Colorado Rockies have opened an investigation after Miami Marlins outfielder Lewis Brinson was allegedly called a “nigger” by a fan on Sunday at Coors Field.
From Yahoo Sports:
The Colorado Rockies are working to identify a fan whom microphones appeared to catch yelling racial slurs at Miami Marlins outfielder Lewis Brinson during Sunday’s game, an incident the team says left it “disgusted.”
The alleged slurs came in the ninth inning at Coors Field with Brinson at the plate and seemed clearly audible on the Bally Sports Florida broadcast, to the point that Marlins play-by-play announcer Paul Severino immediately apologized to viewers for the language.
Hours after the game, the Rockies released a statement denouncing the still-unidentified fan and saying they were investigating the incident. The team indicated that any fan displaying such behavior would be banned from Coors Field.
“The Colorado Rockies are disgusted at the racial slur by a fan directed at the Marlins’ Lewis Brinson during the ninth inning of today’s game,” the team said in a statement. “Although the subject was not identified prior to the end of the game, the Rockies are still investigating this incident.
“The Rockies have zero tolerance for any form of racism or discrimination, and any fan using derogatory language of any kind will be ejected and banned from Coors Field.”
Tony Clark, executive director of the MLB Players Association, issued his own statement in response to what transpired as well.
“It is a painful reality that progress continues to be elusive in a world where ignorance and bigotry remain all too commonplace,” he wrote. “While many are truly committed to respect and equality for all, the abhorrent racial animus displayed today in one of our ballparks highlights that there is still much work to be done.”
But before we sound the bells of war, if you listen closely, it sounds like the fan in question is yelling “Dinger” instead of “nigger.” Dinger, of course, is the Rockies’ mascot; and plenty of baseball fans have taken to Twitter to share a similar observation that perhaps the fan was trying to get Dinger’s attention.
Even if it’s eventually proven that the fan said “Dinger” instead of “nigger,” the fact that we have no idea as of now is a direct reflection of how the general public views baseball. And when you have the track record that MLB does when it comes to matters such as this, your reputation will always precede you.
For Lewis Brinson’s sake, let’s hope this investigation concludes favorably.