Nothing quite goes over quite as well as a white man lecturing people on black rights issues, and yet Tony LaRussa decided to get on television and lecture both Adam Jones and Colin Kaepernick for having an opinion on an issue that is directly affecting them. To catch you up, Colin Kaepernick is currently embroiled in a movement of expanding peaceful protest by sitting during the national anthem. Kaepernick’s movement has spread rapidly through the media and the NFL.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL Media in an exclusive interview after the game. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
No matter your thoughts on Kaepernick and his protest, hopefully we can all agree he has the right to his thought and feelings and to express them. It’s one of the things that is great about this country. Everyone has a right to his or her own opinions, and ideally we can be mature enough to rationally discuss those opinions. (Its that second half of that statement in which we often fall flat.)
As quickly as the Kaepernick conversation has spread, there is one sport where it’s largely escaped. That was until Adam Jones had his say on the topic.
“We already have two strikes against us already,’’ Baltimore Orioles All-Star center fielder Adam Jones told USA TODAY Sports, “so you might as well not kick yourself out of the game. In football, you can’t kick them out. You need those players. In baseball, they don’t need us.
“Baseball is a white man’s sport.’’
While Aferican Americans comprise 68% of the player population in the NFL and 74% in the NBA, they total just 8% in MLB (27% Latin-American), to a grand total of just 69 players on opening-day rosters this season. And that’s JUST players. That’s not even factoring in managers, executives, trainers, owners, front office personnel. When you are so completely surrounded by one demographic, it’s easy to feel like you can’t speak out for fear of getting pushed out.
Hold on to your hats, this is a very long quote upcoming.
“At the end of the day, if you don’t respect his freedoms, then why the hell are we Americans? It’s supposed to be the Land of the Free, right?’’
“I’ve seen Kaepernick called the N-word,’’ Jones said, “just because he’s being sensitive to what has happened to African-Americans in this country. It’s crazy how when people of color speak up, we’re always ridiculed. But when people that are not of color speak up, it’s their right.
“The First Amendment says we have freedom of expression. We’re supposed to be so free, so free. But any time anybody of color speaks up in the United States, for some odd reason, they always get the raw end of the deal. It sucks.
“At the end of the day, black men have fought for this right. Indians have fought for this right. White people fought for this right. Mexicans have fought for this right. Japanese have fought this for this right. The United States was not just made up of one race.
“So let’s just not say that in America, only one person can say something. We all have input because America has always been a country that has united everybody.’’
“The outside world doesn’t really respect athletes,’’ Jones says, “unless they talk about what they want them to talk about. Society doesn’t think we deserve the right to have an opinion on social issues.
“We make a lot of money, so we just have to talk baseball, talk football. But most athletes, especially if you’re tenured in your sport, you’re educated on life, and on more things than most people on the outside. But because Donald Trump is a billionaire, he can say whatever he wants, because he’s older and has more money?
“And when Kaepernick does something, or says something, he’s ridiculed. Why is that? ’’
I realize this is a long lead-up to the click-bait title, but it’s very important to fully grasp the context of what Jones was speaking to before we move on to the meat of the story.
Enter in Tony LaRussa a 71 year old white man, who took it upon himself to get up and lecture everyone on race relations and had the audacity to determine what another person is thinking.
“When he says it’s a white, like elitist, kind of sport, I mean how much wronger can he be? We have tried so hard, the MLB, to expand the black athletes’ opportunity,” said La Russa, who spent two years working for Major League Baseball. “We want the black athletes to pick not basketball or football, but want them to play baseball; they should play baseball. And we’re working to make that happen in the inner cities. We have a lot of Latin players. We have players from the Pacific Rim.”
8% Tony. 8%. “We are trying” isn’t enough. The demographics are very clearly in Jone’s favor here. Just stop trying to argue this point. You are wrong.
“I was there in the Bay Area when he first was a star, a real star. I never once saw him do anything but promote himself. And all of a sudden now he’s a second-stringer and he’s got this mission … and I just don’t trust his sincerity,” La Russa said. “And even if he was sincere, there’s ways to express your belief in some of the issues that face blacks around this country without disrespecting the country you live in or the flag that it represents.”
Oh Tony, Tony, Tony. Just shut the fuck up right now. I don’t know what’s in Kapernick’s heart and mind. No one does. Especially not you. Just because you lived in the area once, who the hell do you think you are to act like you know what another person is thinking, and how dare you announce that on national radio?
Asked if he as a manager would let a player sit during the anthem, La Russa said he “absolutely would not allow it.”
“I would tell [a player that wanted to sit out the anthem to] sit inside the clubhouse,” La Russa said. “You’re not going to be out there representing our team and our organization by disrespecting the flag. No, sir, I would not allow it. … If you want to make your statement, you make it in the clubhouse, but not out there. You’re not going to show it that way publicly and disrespectfully.”
While he said he would force a protesting player to stay in the clubhouse, La Russa added that he wouldn’t keep that player from playing.
“No, he’d play the game, but he wouldn’t be out there sitting down,” La Russa said. “He’d go in the locker room and make his protest.”
And here you go just proving the point that Adam Jones was trying to make. As a black man, he feels like he is unable to speak his mind for fear of retribution from those white men that are currently in power and dominating the sport. Those that feel they have the right to silence the opinions of others.
It’s always funny to me that those that want to oppress the opinions of others all too often abuse that privilege themselves in order to peddle their hypocritical, dogshit opinions. Maybe you should practice a little of what you preach Tony and head into the dugout and shut the fuck up.