09 Apr 2014 Project 21’s Cooper on Hank Aaron’s Race Remarks
Legendary baseball star Hank Aaron fouled out when he tried to play politics — essentially spoiling the 40th anniversary of his record-breaking 715th home run for many fans.
During an interview with USA Today, when Aaron unfortunately steered the conversation into politics, the 80-year-old retired right fielder said about Barack Obama and his performance as president:
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.
After an otherwise dignified anniversary and a stirring speech by Aaron at the Atlanta Braves game on April 8, Project 21 co-chairman Horace Cooper found Aaron’s comments to USA Today to be wholly misleading and inappropriate:
Hank Aaron’s remarks are as disappointing as they are inaccurate.
Suggesting that political differences are the moral equivalent to the odious philosophy of racial superiority is sickening. To make matters worse, they minimize the truly wicked past policies of institutional racial segregation.
Across the board, President Obama’s policies are failing the American people — black and white. Pretending that they aren’t just because he’s the country’s first black President serves no one’s interest and ignores the progress we’ve made.
As an individual who had to actually live by his talents and character when it mattered most, Hank Aaron should — of all people — know the difference between naked bigotry and genuine political differences.