Dissing Jackie Robinson

ESPN celebrated Jackie Robinson day by having no blacks at the desk for Baseball Tonight. 0-4.

The oversight was especially glaring because minutes before the network had (re)aired its splendid documentary on the high school career of black basketball player Sebastian Telfair, Through the Fire . The documentary horrifies by showing how much emphasis there is on sports in poor black neighborhoods. It ends, tragically, with a father drilling his young son over and over on the court, so the kid can some day follow in Telfair’s footsteps. Fat chance.

ESPN could honor Jackie Robinson by getting the ratios behind the desks closer to the ratios on the field. And by promoting more black commentators without requiring that they be star athletes first. Harold Reynolds, Kenny Smith, and even Joe Morgan have all proved to be more impressive as commentators than they were in action.

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