*The following exclusively represents the views and opinions of the author, Aristotle “Mugsy” Sakellaridis.
WHITESTONE, NY – Back in the days I would root for Henry Aaron, Ralph Garr, Lou Brock, Bake McBride, Lee May, Willie Mays, Mickey Rivers, Roy White, Chris Chambliss, Willie Randolph, and anyone else who wore a team uniform. These were my heroes who would show their skills on a nightly basis.
Not once did I view these ballers as “men of color.” The only color for me were those bright uniforms of the St. Louis Cardinals or Oakland A’s or Pittsburgh Pirates from back in the 80’s. Channeling Marvin Gaye, the question I have today is: What’s Going On?
I was reading Phil Mushnick’s column in the N.Y. Post last Friday when he rehashed Serena Williams loss to Naomi Osaka at the U.S. Open back in 2018. U.S. Open chairperson Katrina Adams declared she was thrilled to be standing on the podium with “two women of color.” Wow! Forget the fact that they represented the USA, instead remind us all of what their skin tone looks like. This is what’s going on in the world.
On a recent visit to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., I came across a display of the All Black team that was fielded by the Pittsburgh Pirates back in 1971. There was a set of baseball cards showing all nine players who started that game on September 1st.
When I looked at the players on the cards I noticed Roberto Clemente, a Puerto Rican, Manny Sanguillan, a Panamanian, and Jackie Hernandez, a Cuban. I guess they were labeled “black guys,” because of their skin tone. In this woke world that we’re living in MLB needs to get it right and correct this sham. Skin color doesn’t determine one’s ethnicity, hello George Hamilton.
Will racism ever end? It seems to be passed on from generation to generation and has now found its way into the world of sports – more than ever. The NBA has LeBron with his bullhorn. The NFL has Colin on his knee, and MLB tries to get it right with Jackie’s spirit.
It was 1992 when Rodney King had the daylights beaten out of him by four police officers, which lead to the riots in Los Angeles. King’s plea to end the chaos was, “Can we all just get along?” We need to leave racism out of sports which is the only outlet that unites all cultures.
To that I say, “Make Sports Great Again!”