Sheffield’s remarks: who should be offended?

“I called it years ago. What I called is that you’re going to see more black faces, but there ain’t no English going to be coming out. … [It’s about] being able to tell [Latin players] what to do – being able to control them,” he told the magazine.”Where I’m from, you can’t control us. You might get a guy to do it that way for a while because he wants to benefit, but in the end, he is going to go back to being who he is. And that’s a person that you’re going to talk to with respect, you’re going to talk to like a man.

“These are the things my race demands. So, if you’re equally good as this Latin player, guess who’s going to get sent home? I know a lot of players that are home now can outplay a lot of these guys.”

These remarks are from a new GQ interview with Detroit Tigers outfielder Gary Sheffield. And all I can say is … wow. To sum up:

1: Black players would rather get “sent home” than be “controlled.” It’s hard to say from this excerpt whether this controlling behavior is something other than the standard coaching abuse that all players take – probably not, because if he felt that minorities were taking more guff than white players, something tells me that would have worked its way into the headline.

2: Latino players are easy to control. Is he saying that they lack the pride that black ball players bring to the yard? That seems to be the drift.

3: These are racial characteristics. I think he must mean culture here, not race, since the things he attributes to Latin players apply to black Latin players.

Sheff clearly thinks he’s figured something out, and I’ll be the first to admit that I lack his first-hand experience of the dynamics he’s describing. It’s always struck me that the things going on in Sheffield’s brain were probably a lot smarter than the things coming out of his mouth, although I can’t really prove it. I’m a little uneasy by the fact that there don’t seem to be any examples or detail here, but maybe there’s more substance in the full GQ piece, which I haven’t yet seen.

What’s distressing, though, is that I’m pretty sure he thinks he’s said something about black athletes that is a) accurate and b) positive. I doubt he perceives that he may have slandered Latino players, and I wonder if he grasps the fact that a lot of blacks are going to be a bit offended by what he seems to be saying about them, as well. He undoubtedly thinks that this all says something bad about Major League Baseball’s management.

I look forward to getting my hands on the GQ and seeing the rest of what he said. Because this is a damned broad brush he’s painting with, and people have had their careers ruined for saying no more than he’s quoted saying in the ESPN story linked above.

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10 replies »

  1. come off it, sheffield is correct. Heck even the so called free “PRESS” does not even call the Lation players Black. Look at The one who plays for the Red sox, Ortiz. He is just a tad darker than my mother and grandmother and I bet you would never hear him says that he is Black. he would say the same shit that has been fed to him by the so called “PRESS”, and that it he is hispanic.

    For the most part these latinos are poor. And in those countries the darker the skin the lower on the totem pole you would be. Anyone want to prove that just go to the Dominician Republic or any south american country and experience it. These guys are here for the money and for a better life. The Black american is already here and knows full well that respect is what counts. One might have the best talent, but the so called “PRESS” still treats the Brothers like second class citizens.

  2. Look, no way in hell I’m going to defend the press on this – at least not until I have some more in the way of source material to work with.

    But if this does more or less represent what Sheff said and thinks, what would your reaction be if the exact same words had been spoken by an MLB official or a manager – especially a white one?

    Maybe that’s irrelevant, I don’t know – but wouldn’t you agree that he’s REALLY working in overgeneralizations?

  3. Sam,

    I’m offended by the fact that this subliterate toolbox is getting a choice platform in GQ to spout his ignorant nonsense just because he’s a baseball player.

  4. I’ve been mulling this since you posted it this morning. Like you, I have the ESPN excerpts but I haven’t seen the GQ article yet, so I don’t know all the context. From what I have, however, I have to conclude the following:

    1) Sheffield seems to have a beef against Latin/Hispanic players – he sees them as compliant and complacent and thinks that makes them more appealing employees for MLB – what I don’t see is any proof of his assertions of this – or his assertions about unfair treatment of black players. He’s just making unsubstantiated claims.

    2) He seems to think he’s speaking for black ballplayers in the MLB – maybe for all black people. Again, I’ve seen no evidence to back up such a claim.

    3) There also seems to be some suggestion that black Latin/Hispanic players don’t see themselves as black in the same way – and aren’t treated – the same way that black American players see themselves or are treated. I hope his full interview offers more detail to explain why he thinks this.

    The implication in his statements is that MLB is using Latin/Hispanic players to undermine the opportunities for black American players. That’s a serious charge. Let’s hope he’s got his evidence in order.

  5. I am Dominican. All latin americans are conquered, self hating, racist fools. Sheffield is 10000% correct on his assertions. Racism and ignorance is abundant in the white controlled hispanic media (see univision) and their brainwashed colonial carribean servants.

    Immigrants, sellouts, and other empirical toolbags keep wages low…the same playbook can be seen in illegal immigration and a disgustingly low minimum wage. Minimum wage should be set at 15 dollars an hour considering todays inflationary prices.

  6. Why does anyone even listen to Sheffield? He is a well known malcontent and has also shown to the whole world why he is a ballplayer and not a political consultant or a MENSA member. He is just an idiotic, uneducated guy who is spewing his ignorance to anybody who will listen. He does this to re-inforce his sense of self worth and importance. I love baseball, but I long ago stopped looking at ballplayers for any meaningful insights on anything other than how to throw a splitter, or hit a knuckleball. A few ballplayers seem nice enough, but most are jerks, and almost all are total idiots. The worst ones are guys like Sheffield and Curt Schilling who think they are very smart, but are actually woefully mis-informed about most everything. I really respect both men, though, BUT ONLY AS BALLPLAYERS! NOT AS INTELLECTUALS!!

  7. This is another example that proves that black people are the most racist people in the country, but continue to act like victims of racism. The only people I ever hear knocking latinos, asians, and whites are black people, and they have no problem using racial slurs. Anytime I point it out, I’m told that black people can’t be racist because they have been discriminated against for so long. That is absolutely not true, racism is racism no matter whose mouth it comes out of, but our country is not ready to confront the reality of the situation it’s in. It’s time for blacks to stop using other peoples behavior as an excuse for not achieving in our culture, because other ethnic groups have come to this coiuntry after them and faced discrination, and excelled.

  8. A truthful steroid addict.

    Where is George Mitchell and his obligatory ESPN/Disney/MLB discrimination denial?

    Corked bats, steroids, amphetamines, fixed games, colossal dogs, drunk driving managers (Tony LaRussa), drunken dead pitchers (Josh Hancock) and black dicrimination.

    Wow—what a surprise.

  9. This is bogus. Why does is is always have to be racism. We all hear and read the stories of how Latin America kids play baseball with passion. It is not a surprise a great number of them are making it to the big leagues. African American kids are playing basketball. Look at the numbers there. Why aren’t NBA owner’s bringing in more Latin players then?