MLB Players Race Issues

Sheff Serves Up The Race Card

Do Major League Baseball owners, GMs, and scouts tend to favor a specific type of race over another when in the draft room? Gary Sheffield says yes. Not only have Latin players replaced African-Americans as the largest minority group in the MLB since the 1980s, but the gap is rather large. In 2005, it was reported that 28.7% of the league was latino and only 8.5% were black [Sheffield says Latin players easier to control than blacks].  Sheff opines that this is due to organizations wishing to control its players.

Personally, I think that it is a tough duty to try to attack bigotry by being a bigot yourself.  If Sheffield wants to expose some sort of racism and help the cause of his own ethnicity, he should probably shy away from putting down another minority group in the same article.  Are Latin players easy to control?  Michael Barrett sure doesn’t think so.  Does Sheff know a lot of players that are home now can outplay a lot of the Latin players in the league?  Maybe, but that does not really prove his point.  I know someone who can do a better job than Rosie O’Donnell on The View…oh wait, she got fired.

Anyway, there is one small area that baseball agents can take away from the ESPN article.  And it has nothing to do with black baseball players.  I would still recommend representing future black prospects, because black players will forever be a part of the game in the future.  I think that a telling statistic is that a majority of the league is still made up of white players.  59.5% of the MLB is white, which I find surprising.  It seems like we hear about all of the imported players from China, Japan, South Korea, Dominican Republic, etc., but there is still a lot of space for white players.  Players will continue to be brought in from oversees, and the rate will probably expand, however white and black players should maintain a powerful position in America’s pastime.  So do not be afraid to represent such a player while the landscape changes a little bit!

-Darren Heitner 

By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.

6 replies on “Sheff Serves Up The Race Card”

I completely disagree with Sheffield’s theory and his comments on how Latin baseball players can be controlled is just moronic. Black players moving to basketball and football cannot be traced to racism on the part of GM’s. GM’s will select the player who can help them win championships and get rich, regardless of his skin color. It makes sense that if there are less blacks in the player pool then less will be drafted.

Sheff is a fool. His lack of self-control isn’t reflective in the majority of the 8.9 percent of major leaguers who are african-american.

If he is concerned about the numbers, he should focus his attention on how to promote the game to the youngsters to keep status quo. I’m from Detroit and a Tigers fan, but I can’t see myself cheering for Sheff anymore this season. His contribution to the problem far exceeds his contributions to the solution.

Remember, this is the guy who doesn’t have an agent. His agent probably couldn’t “control” him anyways.

Last week, Sheffield commented that he was going to reach out to Elijah Dukes,who was featured on last weeks nightmare athletes. Sheffield is not what Dukes needs; they both need the past generation of great black players to step up and influence how they want their legacy on the game to be felt. With the smoldering of Barry Bonds on the steroids issue, american black baseball needs positive role models; not crybabies.

Optimistically, guys like Curtis Granderson and Craig Monroe are also on the Tigers and are SIGNIFICANT contributors to the local community as well as their hometowns. By the end of the season, hopefully their positive impact can outweigh the negatives generated by players like Sheff.

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