Special to The NorthStar News & Analysis from Black News.com
Baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron, who is now 80 years old, recently told USA Today that the Republicans’ constant criticism of President Obama is just one of many areas where not much progress has been made.
He said, “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. The bigger difference is that back then they had hoods. Now they have neckties and starched shirts.”
Aaron added that he thinks Obama’s critics are not too far off from the people who threatened him in the 1970’s (in his baseball days), as he got closer and closer to Babe Ruth’s home run record. He says he still keeps the letters in his home to remind himself of the persistent racism that continues to exist in the United States.
He commented, “We are not that far removed from when I was chasing the record. If you think that, you are fooling yourself. A lot of things have happened in this country, but we have so far to go. There’s not a whole lot that has changed.”
Aaron spent 21 seasons with the Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves in the National League (NL) before playing for the Milwaukee Brewers of the American League (AL) for the final two years of his career. He made world history in 1974 when he hit his 715th home run, breaking Babe Ruth’s all-time record. That record, however, was later broken by Barry Bonds in the 1990’s.
“The only good nigger is a dead nigger,” one person wrote to the Atlanta Braves
In 1982, Aaron was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, and in 2002, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. To date, him and his brother Tommie Aaron still hold the record for the most career home runs by a pair of siblings.
Aaron is now senior vice president of the Atlanta Braves. After his comments, the Braves received racist letters and emails.
One from a guy who signed his name as Edward said his father taught him that the only “good nigger” was a “dead nigger.”