A New Day—Jackie Robinson accomplishment being diluted

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AUBREY BRUCE

 

I am freshly honored every year by the remembrance of the Brooklyn Dodgers #42 Jackie Robinson. But one thing I have to make perfectly clear.  I hope and pray every year that African-Americans will have the positive impact on baseball as well as on their communities that they had during the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. But alas it is not to be.  The economic structure of today will not allow Black athletes to have a major social and economic influence on the sport.  In November of 2011 the Connecticut Law Review published an article authored by Joanna Shepherd Bailey and George B. Shepherd saying that; “Major League Baseball has recently experienced two puzzling upheavals. First, the number of foreign players has grown to 28 percent of all players. At the same time the fraction of African-American players has declined, and is now at its lowest level in more than thirty years. The solution to the puzzle lies within the league itself. In 1965, MLB instituted two regulations that penalized domestic players: the draft and age minimums. Because the regulations applied only to U.S. players, teams shifted their scouting and development resources to foreign countries. Our empirical analysis, using a new data set, shows that the shift has caused growth in the numbers of foreign MLB players and a decline in U.S. players, especially harming disadvantaged groups such as African-Americans.
“The regulations violate the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in two ways. First, because they explicitly burden only U.S. players, they constitute intentional discrimination based on national origin. Second, because the regulations? impact falls disproportionately on African-Americans, the league has engaged in unlawful racial discrimination. The appropriate remedy is that the draft and age limits should be eliminated.”
H’mm, “Two regulations that penalized domestic players: the draft and age minimums.” The appalling high school dropout rates of African-American males almost is a sure indicator that most Black males don’t even meet the grade point average requirement in order to reach the minimum age to be considered for the MLB draft.  However, the selection of players originating from the Caribbean enjoy regulations as well as a very politically conducive environment to assist MLB in retaining the services of athletes originating from these areas.   

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