If you follow baseball, you are probably aware of the troubles that have followed misunderstood Devil Rays' player Elijah Dukes.
Dukes has suffered through some difficult times, the latest being a turbulent marriage encumbered with domestic disputes and accusations of threats.
In an effort to help young Dukes, veteran player Gary Sheffield has reached out to act as a mentor or guide.
Sheffield would seem to be a perfect fit to help young Dukes through this troubling time, as Sheffield has a unique and logical approach to life. And an intimate understanding of what is going on in the world of baseball.
Folks have been documenting and addressing the fact that their is a noticeable decrease in roster spots for African-American players in recent years. This alarming decrease has been investigated and many possible reasons have been purported.
To find the real and obvious reasons, sometimes we overlook the best sources. How about the input of a long time Negro player?
What does Sheffield have to say about the dwindling number of African-Americans in the big leagues?
"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."
Sheffield is saying the things that others are afraid to say.
We hope that the wisdom he imparts on young Dukes is effective in helping Dukes adjust to life in the big leagues.
And, if it isn't, and Dukes ends up at home. At least now we will have a better insight as to why.
It all comes down to control.