From The Vault: Stop trying to hide your racism after shoving others under your segregated bus

Terence Moore

Regarding those saying the N-word in sports, it's still happening. And, no, when I say "it," I'm not referring this week to the firing of legendary Indianapolis Colts radio announcer Bob Lamey and his loose lips, but to all of the folks with the franchise who aren't getting whacked for uttering something similar.

You know there are others.

There always are, but those "others" protect themselves by sacrificing the Lameys of the world before they retweet to the shadows for more slurs.

That's been the case for years.

If you don't believe me of now, maybe you'll believe me of 1993, when I discussed the hypocrites in baseball (and in society overall) wishing to punish former Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott for her racial issues.


Owners Should Leave Marge Schott Alone

February 7, 1993

Atlanta Journal-Constitution

By Terence Moore

Unless many of the other 27 owners in baseball wish to suspend and fine themselves, along with some of their generals, lieutenants and privates, they should leave Marge Schott alone.

Instead, we have this court martial happening in baseball. Pending legal action by Schott, the game's executive council has suspended Schott from her Cincinnati Reds for a year and handed down a fine of $250,000. That's because Schott allegedly made derogatory comments toward blacks, Jews and Asians.

What a joke.

Schott is guilty, no doubt. There have been too many witnesses through the years to support Schott's current depiction as a foul-mouth, chain-smoking, cold-hearted bigot. The joke here is simply baseball in general and its executive council in particular. As is the case throughout society, whenever a racist or a bigot or a sexist leaves the shadows in sports, he or she is quickly dismissed as the only one.

If you believe Marge Schott is the only baseball owner to have uttered the ''N'' word, then you probably believe David Duke thinks Willie Mays was better than Mickey Mantle. But back to this hypocrisy involving ''isms'' in society as it relates to sports.

One day, Al Campanis said blacks ''lack the necessities'' to hold decision-making jobs in baseball. The next day, he was out the door as an executive for the Los Angeles Dodgers. What a horrible thing for Campanis to say, suggested baseball executives in public, before they tiptoed back to their lily-white offices.

Elsewhere, former CBS announcer Jimmy ''The Greek'' Snyder said blacks are bred to be great athletes. He also said blacks aren't given front-office jobs in sports because there wouldn't be anything left for the whites. Snyder was fired, too. After all, he had the audacity to tell the truth, at least the truth according to many of his peers.

The objective of racists and bigots and sexists in the shadows is to hit the Campanises and the Snyders as legally (or as illegally) as possible when they surface and hope the controversy just goes away.

Unfortunately, this strategy works. All you need to know is that since those statements by Campanis and Snyder surfaced during the mid-to-latter 1980s, most organizations in amateur and pro sports have remained lily white, except for some darkness here and there.

Now Marge Schott is the latest Al Campanis and Jimmy The Greek. What makes it easier for those in the shadows to sacrifice Schott is that she is female and she isn't liked by her peers anyway.

Contrary to what baseball's executive council wants us to believe, the Reds, along with nearly 100 percent of the other teams in the majors, have been a mess for years in regard to racial matters. Much has been made of the fact that Schott had only one black (a mail room employee) in her front office of 45 employees. But what else was new for the Reds, baseball's oldest team?

Before Schott's ownership of the Reds in 1985, the only visible black in the organization who wasn't a player was Brooks Lawrence, a former pitcher for the team in the 1950s. Officially, Lawrence was called an ''administrative assistant'' by the Reds. Unofficially, his role was to keep a seat warm in the press box at Cincinnati's Riverfront Stadium during games. Lawrence became so frustrated with his figure-head position with the Reds after nearly a decade that he eventually left in 1980.

There were Brooks Lawrences throughout baseball and sports back then, and little has changed now despite the rhetoric.

Here's part of the solution: Members of baseball's executive council should ask Schott to announce publicly the names of all those in the game she knows who have uttered similar slurs. Then they should take action against them, too.

Then we'd all be getting somewhere.