Hank Aaron Flooded With Racist Hate Mail After GOP Attack

Wednesday, 16 Apr 2014 01:01 PM

By Drew MacKenzie

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The offices of the Atlanta Braves have been flooded with racist letters, emails, and phone calls attacking Hall of Famer Hank Aaron after his interview comparing the way Republicans treat President Barack Obama to the Ku Klux Klan.

USA Today writer Bob Nightengale said the "sheer racism" of the attack against Aaron was similar to the racist onslaught that the African-American star faced in 1974 when he broke Babe Ruth's home-run record.

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Nightengale noted that the new hate mail messages came as baseball was celebrating Jackie Robinson Day, April 15, on Tuesday.

One bigoted writer named Edward wrote an email to the Braves' front office with several expletives and racial slurs contained it, according to The Washington Post.

Another baseball fan named Marion called Aaron "a racist scumbag." Mark called Aaron a "classless racist" while a writer named David said he planned to burn Aaron's "I Had a Hammer: The Hank Aaron Story" autobiography.

The firestorm erupted after 80-year-old Aaron, the senior vice president of the Braves, said in an interview with USA Today that America today is "not that far removed" from the racial intolerance of the mid-20th century.

On the 40th anniversary of his home-run record, he said, "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. The bigger difference is that back then they had hoods. Now they have neckties and starched shirts."

Referring to current race relations in the country, he added, "We have moved in the right direction, and there have been improvements. But we still have a long ways to go in the country."

To prove his point, Aaron cited the decrease in U.S.-born black baseball players as evidence of modern-day structural racism.

There are only 67 black players in the major leagues, with three teams not represented by a single African-American player: the San Francisco Giants, Arizona Diamondbacks and St. Louis Cardinals, according to USA Today.

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