This past Sunday marked the 15th anniversary of the attacks of 9/11, and also the first Sunday of the NFL season. While majority of the players stood for the National Anthem, there were some that joined Colin Kaepernick's silent protest against the oppression and injustice.
The NFL has supported their players and will not punish them for protesting the national anthem. With majority of their players being black, it's not surprising to see the NFL support them. What about a league that isn't predominantly, like the MLB.
Baltimore Orioles Golden Glover, Adam Jones, gave a strong response to why players of color in the MLB should not practice in the same manner as those in the NFL.
Of course people are not happy with his comments, which seems to be the result whenever a black athlete makes a statement regarding racial issues in America. What makes his statement controversial is his claim that baseball is a white man's sport. I've seen fans call his opinion, ignorant, classless, and complete false. Whether you agree or not, he isn't telling a lie.
The sport of baseball is for everyone and does not have any restrictions on who can or can not play. Jones is simply implying that because the league is not filled with black players, they are not forced to deal with black issues like the NFL or NBA, where black players are at least 68% the majority. Those leagues can not be insensitive to racial issues that their players are speaking out against. Whether the league agrees with the players doesn't really matter because the league knows that going against it could cost them financially, which is the main issue for them.
The MLB doesn't have to deal with that issue, just like the PGA doesn't have to deal with that issue, or the NHL.
According to the numbers, Baseball is a white man sport. African Americans make up 8% of the MLB, with only 69 total players on opening day rosters. Those of caucasian decent make up 58%. Since 1991, african americans have never made up more than 20% of the leagues population, highest being 19% in 1995. Since 2004, african american's MLB population has only reached 10% twice.
For some reason, people are not looking at WHY he is saying this; just like they didn't look at WHY Kaepernick decided not to stand for the National anthem. While I am a black man that is a fan of baseball, and was taught the game by a black man, it appears to me that the MLB fan base is not filled with African Americans. The majority of my baseball discussions are with Caucasian fans. The biggest disconnect that African Americans have with Caucasians is that Caucasians are not affected by racial injustice; so its hard for them to understand why black athletes - many of which are their favorite players - are becoming passionate in this fight. They do not understand the gripe of being black in America. White america has not been very empathetic of black america's struggle, which has caused tension and divide between the two. In their minds, they believe that America is equal and nothing is wrong. As a black man, I have to say that is furthest from the truth.
So with majority Caucasian fans and Caucasian players, why should the MLB feel obligated to protect those who are in the minority? If you cut Adam Jones, Chris Davis is still the fan favorite. Out of the top-ten list for jersey sales in the MLB, nine players are of caucasian decent and only one African American player lands in the top 20. In the front office, only 10% of the employees are African American (28.9% employees of color). 90% of the managers are white, Dusty Baker being the only African American manager.
While Hank Aaron is the home run king, Babe Ruth is still considered the league's greatest player.
Jones statement is not about blacks not being allowed to be apart of baseball. I'll even go as far as to say that was never a thought. If a team would cut a player or the league suspends a player for protesting against the National Anthem, the blacklash from public opinion would not be as strong if the NFL or NBA were to do so. A player of color, mainly black, is more likely to be blackballed out of the MLB than those who play in predominantly black leagues, that's my theory on why he said baseball is a white man sport.