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“Sheffing” Up Controversy

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Hall of Fame Cleveland Browns running back Jim Brown was very outspoken in during his playing days. Many of today’s athletes are very outspoken, with one very important difference. Brown used his stage to speak of social change. More often then not, today’s athlete is speaking nonsense. Exhibit A is Detroit Tigers’ outfielder Gary Sheffield. Throughout Sheffield’s career, he has proven that he loves the taste of his own shoe leather.

This season has been no exception. He started fast this season by offering his theory regarding the dearth of African-American players in Major League Baseball today versus in decades past. In April, Sheff suggested that number of black players in MLB has gone down because teams prefer Hispanic players that, in his opinion, are “easier to control.”

This week, Sheff suggested in a TV interview that his former manager Joe Torre of the New York Yankees “treated black players differently,” and worse, than white ones. When reminded that Derek Jeter is one of Joe Torre’s favorite Yankee players, Sheff “reasoned” that Jeter is immune to the treatment that African-American players get from Torre because the biracial Jeter is not “all the way black.” Sadly, Sheffield is becoming typical of athletes today, too often addressing the important issues of the day by thinking before they speak.

Where have all the Jim Browns gone? Today’s athletes seem much more interested in hearing the sound of their own voice than actually having a voice. They seem satisfied simply to provoke rather than to provoke thought or thoughtful discussion. What happened to the athlete that think and social consciousness was part of the package? What happened to the athletes that felt their pulpit was meant to be used to bully positive social change, not a positive Q rating? Alas, No. 32 was just as rare off the field as he was on it.

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About Brian McClellan

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    I knew the Tigers were asking for trouble when they signed Sheffield.

    Here’s a black guy, who is wealthier than 99.99% of all black people in the world, and 99.9% of all black people in the country (and 99.8% of all non-black people in the country as well), and yet he’s still bitching about “racism” and “prejudice” and “bigotry” and all the rest.

    Go whine to someone who cares, Sheff. You make more money in a single season than most hard-working Whites/Hispanics/Asians will make in their entire lives. (And plus you get four months off! That’s a better deal than even public school teachers!)

    And then, in light of this, people wonder why athletes in general aren’t held in very high regard anymore…

  • REMF

    What does money have to do with racism?

  • Alec

    RJ – RE: Here’s a black guy, who is wealthier than 99.99% of all black people in the world, and 99.9% of all black people in the country (and 99.8% of all non-black people in the country as well), and yet he’s still bitching about “racism” and “prejudice” and “bigotry” and all the rest.

    There was never a “Rich Negro” exception in Slave Codes or Jim Crow laws, so like REMF, I don’t know what wealth has to do with discrimination or racism.

    On the other hand, Sheffield’s apparent belief that he is somehow more authentically black than Jeter or even Latin players of African descent is so patently ridiculous that I wonder why anyone is paying any attention to him. Overall, Sheffield’s issues seem more related to his own psyche than to race relations.

  • The Haze

    Remember when it was a game? So sad. Not sport. Entertainment. It and those who (I dare say!) play it were created by YOU! DON’T BITCH ABOUT! Don’t partake and see how fast one becomes a “humble bumble”. What do you think would happen if that was…..say Justin Verlander who made those remarks? I cry alone. Not for the overpaid athletes,but for the American sports fan of today. You should have been there…….when it was a game.