The sale of the Atlanta Braves has been approved.
We posted several days ago about Rainbow/PUSH's meeting with Braves' management. The meeting was to bring attention to the fact that Braves' roster was virtually African-American free.
Of course, we weathered a storm of anger from some of our less enlightened readers. Screaming nonsense about "ability dictates the roster" and "there just aren't enough African-Americans that are good enough". All this, despite the fact that several teams have rosters that contain "good enough" African Americans.
Well, this sale of the Braves may change all that.
We are the first to admit that we have scolded Hank Aaron for his disinterest and standoffish attitude towards Bonds' record quest. We even accused him of being in the back pocket of Commissioner Bud Selig.
But suddenly, the picture is becoming much more clear.
"Hank Aaron is going be a critical part of all this. It was very important to me, and I know it's very important to Terry and to Bill," commissioner Bud Selig said at a news conference with McGuirk and Braves chairman emeritus Bill Bartholomay. "I'm sure there will be an increased role for Hank."
Could Hank be standing down from the Bonds stuff in return for Selig's support here?
And, could Hank be doing it with the ultimate goal of addressing the declining numbers of African-Americans on the Braves and in baseball?
"Which brings us to the primary reason Aaron is returning. “I’m going to stay around long enough to raise people’s attention on some things, because there are a bunch of things that I want [baseball and the Braves] to do,” said Aaron, referring to the ridiculously low number of African-American players in the game. Until the Braves promoted Cairo’s Willie Harris from the minors this week, they were one of two teams in the majors with no African-Americans on their 40-man roster."
"...said [Braves president] Terry McGuirk, who likely will hold his current position when Time Warner sells the team to Liberty Media. “It’s pretty neat to know Hank personally and to have him in your presence. I want him around forever.”
So, the commission AND the team's execs are fully supportive of Aaron coming aboard with the intention of addressing some of these pressing issues. Certainly, they wouldn't be supportive of Aaron assuming an operational role if they also didn't recognize and concur that the Braves inability to identify and field Negro talent was not a pressing issue that needed fixed.
We want to congratulate Rainbow/PUSH on this impressive result.
One has to wonder if the Braves would be taking such initiative if Rainbow/PUSH hadn't had the fortitude to stand up to them and make that meeting happen.
We also have to admit our surprise and respect for Selig and for the Braves' executives on this issue. It is not often that a league and team will admit they have not been running a fair business and take the necessary steps to correct the problems.