Hank Aaron proved his point and then some after his interview on the state of race relations in this country. The harsh reality of racism still very much being alive and well in this country played out last week–the 40th anniversary of Aaron’s 715th home run.
In an interview with USA Today, Aaron spoke truthfully and blunt about race in this country, stating:
“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. We have moved in the right direction, and there have been improvements, but we still have a long ways to go in the country. The bigger difference is that back then they had hoods. Now they have neckties and starched shirts.”
Immediately afterwards the Braves received hundreds of hate letters condemning Aaron and even some threatening him. Ironically enough in 1974 Aaron had received similar hate letters as he moved in on Babe Ruth’s record, history is repeating itself. Of course, above all his words have been proven as fact; racism is an ever present issue in this country.
Many letters received by the Braves were from people decided to call Aaron the racist for having the ‘audacity’ to speak up, via USA Today:
Marion calls Aaron a “racist scumbag.” Ronald won’t attend another Braves game until Aaron is fired. Mark calls Aaron a “classless racist.” David says that he will burn Aaron’s I Had A Hammer autobiography.
The wave of racist mail continued to pour in even on Jackie Robinson Day.