BASEBALL COLOR IT UNCHANGED : Jackie Robinson Foundation to Study Minority Hiring
Rachel Robinson, wife of the late Jackie Robinson, who broke baseball’s color barrier in 1947, said that her New York-based Jackie Robinson Foundation has formed a committee to study minority participation in sports and apply team-by-team pressure, particularly in baseball, to accelerate minority hiring.
“Baseball has had 40-plus years to work on it, and obviously little has been done,” she said of the fact that there are only two minority managers in the major leagues and no general managers.
“No one can feel good about the progress, and unless there is a concerted effort, there’s not going to be the systemic change that’s needed. The occasional hiring of a minority manager isn’t going to do it. The way it is, there’s a periodic flare-up, people talk about it, then it goes away.”
Robinson’s committee includes Arthur Ashe, the former tennis star; Richard Lapchick, executive director of the Center of Study for Sports in Society at Northeastern University, and Arthur Seigle, executive director of the ACLU in New York.
She said they have met with Commissioner Fay Vincent and National League President Bill White and heard their frustrations, but she is not sure how much cooperation they will receive from baseball.
“We sent the teams a position paper before last year’s winter meetings in which we expressed concern at the slow pace of minority hiring,” she said. “We hoped someone would speak up and say, ‘Yes, you’re right,’ but no one did.
“Now we’re attempting to contact each team and get the actual numbers on their minority employment so that we’ll know which teams are doing a good job, as well as those that aren’t. The response should tell us what kind of cooperation we’re going to get.”