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Braves getting racist fan mail about Hank Aaron

Hank-AaronAnyone who has seen the movie “42″ has a pretty decent understanding of the type of hateful fan mail the Los Angeles Dodgers received when they made Jackie Robinson the first African-American player in Major League Baseball. Threats and racist letters toward black players continued right into the 1950s, 60s and 70s. Unfortunately, they still exist today.

Hank Aaron told Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports last week that he keeps his hate mail as a reminder that racism is still very much an issue. He used president Barack Obama as an example.

“A lot of things have happened in this country, but we have so far to go,”Aaron said. “There’s not a whole lot that has changed. We can talk about baseball. Talk about politics. 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.”

“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. Now they have neckties and starched shirts.”

Nightengale later specified that Aaron was not comparing Republicans to the Ku Klux Klan, rather simply stating that anyone would be a fool to think racism is a thing of the past. That hasn’t prevented the Atlanta Braves from receiving a new wave of racist hate mail over the past week.

“Hank Aaron is a scumbag piece of (expletive) (racial slur)” a man named Edward says in an e-mail to the Braves front office obtained by USA TODAY Sports.

Edward invokes the epithet five times in four sentences, closing with, “My old man instilled in my mind from a young age, the only good (racial slur) is a dead (racial slur).” …

… Marion calls Aaron a “racist scumbag.” Ronald won’t attend another Braves game until Aaron is fired. Mark calls Aaron a “classless racist.” David says that he will burn Aaron’s I Had A Hammer autobiography.

Here we are 40 years later, and the only difference is bigots don’t have to write their letters by hand. The hate mail is less frequent, but the fact that it still exists is embarrassing.

H/T Deadspin

Hank Aaron: First PED violation should be 100-game suspension, second lifetime ban

Every time a player gets caught using performance-enhancing drugs, it leads to a discussion about whether or not the punishment is harsh enough. On paper, being suspended for a third of the season for a first offense and more than half of the season for a second offense sounds pretty significant. Baseball has a 162-game season, so players who test positive lose a lot of time and money — not to mention the hit to their public image. Former home run king Hank Aaron doesn’t think it’s enough.

“I think it’s got to be a little bit more severe as far as penalties are concerned,” Aaron said at a benefit for his charity on Wednesday according to FOXSportsWisconsin.com. “I think 50 games is not enough. I’d like to see 100 games really. I think the second time, they need to just ban the player from baseball.”

Contrary to what the founder of BALCO would like you to think, I have trouble believing that steroid use is still as rampant across Major League Baseball now as it was five to 10 years ago. Unless pitchers are now the most frequent users, there’s a reason we have seen a noticeable spike in no-hitters and perfect games over the past two or three seasons.

As someone who had to watch Barry Bonds break his home run record, we can understand why Aaron feels like the punishment handed out to guys like Melky Cabrera is not enough. Other old timers like Kirk Gibson agree with his stance. While I feel that 50 games is a significant enough suspension for a first offense, I find it tough to disagree with Aaron about repeat offenders. People make mistakes and have lapses in judgment. Using PEDs after you’ve already been caught using PEDs is an entirely different set of circumstances.

Hank Aaron: Alex Rodriguez Needs Focus to Break HR Record


If you’re a true baseball fan, you probably recognize Hank Aaron as the all-time home run king — not Barry Bonds, who “broke” Aaron’s record on Aug. 7, 2007. The next player most likely to challenge Aaron’s 755 career home runs is Alex Rodriguez, but Aaron told the New York Post on Sunday that he thinks A-Rod needs to focus on baseball if he is going to do that.

I think Rodriguez has got too many irons on the fire right now. I think his head’s not level enough to the point where he can have the kind of year that it takes in order to go past all of the records in the book.

[Read more...]