It’s no surprise that the commissioner of the most historically racist and prejudiced pro sports league in America is in negotiations with America’s most racist, misogynist and prejudiced sports site in America to broadcast midweek games, to keep Major League Baseball racist, white, and prejudiced.
On the same day that the Colorado Rockies and MLB narrowly survived dealing with a racism scandal in which it was originally believed that a white fan in the stands was yelling the N-word at a Black player for the Marlins, the league found itself in another public relations nightmare as news leaked of the potential deal with Barstool Sports.
According to the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand:
“Major League Baseball and Barstool Sports have had significant negotiations about having national midweek games on the site’s platforms,” as “Barstool sticks out because it has the connection to a younger audience MLB craves and could possibly create buzz with its alternative delivery approach.”
That audience hates Black people, women, Asians, or anybody else that isn’t a straight white male. This isn’t a column that’s meant to bash Barstool, as they are who they’ve always been. This is a column that will point out how Manfred and MLB love to pretend they’re something they’re not, while situations like this are proof that they’re liars.
“Tonight, I join our 30 club baseball operations officials as they recognize, on behalf of our entire industry, that systemic racism and inequality are devastating problems, that we can each do more to help, that baseball can do more as an institution, that Black Lives Matter and that we are united for change,” said Manfred in a statement last summer after the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and others – as he packaged his lie in a pretty box with a bow on top. “We want to utilize the platform afforded by our game to be not only allies, but active participants in social change.”
In the wake of a faux racial reckoning in America, Manfred and MLB were going to make sure that history remembered that they at least “tried.”
But, you see, that’s the thing about systemic racism, prejudices, and intolerance. Decades of hateful behavior can’t be magically cured by a statement, tweet, or Instagram post no matter how beloved your game is as America’s pastime.
And for all the people that were shocked or disheartened to learn that MLB was in negotiations with a place like Barstool, you’re either incredibly stupid or willfully ignorant to who the league has always been. Every season, MLB has a day dedicated to Jackie Robinson in which every player wears the No. 42 in his honor. But, did you know that on Opening Day only 7 percent of players on MLB rosters were African-American?
It’s believed that Robinson once said, “Today, Negroes play on every big-league club and in every minor league. With millions of other Negroes in other walks of life, we are willing to stand up and be counted for what we believe in.” If true, that is not the case anymore given that MLB – and baseball as a whole – has done everything in its power to keep the game as white as possible.
If Manfred was reading this I’m sure he’d try to counter my argument with examples of “all the programs” the league has in place to “grow the game” and make it more “diverse.” It’s a sleight of hand trick that they like to use to distract you, like when a 2020 report from Front Office Sports showed that ESPN’s MLB ratings were up 83 percent with women 18-34 years old.
Don’t fall for it, though. Despite what you’ve heard, numbers only tell part of the story and often lie.
“They checked me through security five times, more than they did any of the men. Some of my co-workers saw that, and they were like, ‘Oh my God, we didn’t realize that this actually happened,” a National League front-office female staffer told ESPN in a story that ran in April about how women that work in baseball feel that MLB has a long way to go.
“You really have to be a tough cookie because you go through a lot of sh*t,” she explained. “And it’s not just people giving you bad looks, but it’s sexual harassment, it’s guys touching you inappropriately, it’s ticket guys not giving you your ticket, it’s being kicked out of your seat.”
It appears that racism and sexual harassment are par for the course with Barstool – even if the CEO is a woman – and MLB. And if for some reason the deal doesn’t go through due to the backlash it has created on social media, Manfred and his team shouldn’t be given credit for walking away from a deal at the 11th hour when they never should have sat down at the negotiating table to begin with.
But, given who Major League Baseball has always been. I’m sure they would find a way to spin a deal that collapsed in extra innings due to public outcry as a home run – or a “dinger.”