MLB Hall of Famer Hank Aaron is a living legend and that fact was certified a week ago when he and the Atlanta Braves celebrated the 40th anniversary of him breaking Babe Ruth’s home run record.
Apparently not much has changed since that faithful ball #715 crossed the fences over at Turner Field. Including the same racial tension Aaron faced with the threat of a Black man (in the South at that) sitting on top of the history books.
Only this time, the hate mail is being sent electronically.
Via USA TODAY:
Sheer racism, exposed in vile letters directed to Hall of Famer Hank Aaron, have poured into the Atlanta Braves offices over the past week.
Yes, it was like 1974 all over again, the year Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record, with letters laced with the most hateful epithet known to African Americans.
“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).”
The league recently held its annual Jackie Robinson Day,” in an era where there are only 67 African-American players on active rosters. Aaron isn’t naive to the continuous outward gestures of bigotry. On the contrary, he actually saves the letters and emails as a reminder of the road he traveled to become a sports icon.
“[I do it] to remind myself that we are not that far removed from when I was chasing the record,” the 80-year-old says. “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.”
Continuing on he in his USA TODAY conversation, Aaron elaborated on the country’s current climate on racial tension. “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. The bigger difference is back then they had hoods. Now they have neckties and starched shirts,” he concluded.
The KKK still have their hoods however, and they are claiming to do it in the name of Jesus.
Photo: Dan Jackman/WENN.com