MLB: Gary Sheffield and MLB Analyst Talk Future of Baseball in America, Colin Kaepernick Protest and More

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With the MLB post-season growing nearer each day; TBS gears up to be the exclusive home for the Wild Card round through to the American League Championship Series. At the MLB on TBS luncheon, I had the honor of sitting down with the stars of their half-time, post-game and pre-game shows; 9X MLB All-Star and World Series Champ Gary Sheffield and 1989 Gold Glove Award winner and World Series Champ Ron Darling to discuss where the MLB as a whole is headed, Colin Kaepernick’s protest and the transition from athlete to broadcaster/sports agent. Here’s what they had to say:

When asked about the future of baseball in America, Ron Darling gave some constructive criticism about the current state of the game and pointed out a few changes that can be made.

Ron Darling: I think that baseball is at a crux. I think it’s at an interesting place, dangerous I could use. We would like things to move quicker, baseball moves slow. We need to make this a 2 1/2 hour game and maybe we don’t play extra innings and ties are alright. The socioeconomics of the game need to change. Baseball could attract better people to play in the minor league if they paid them more.

Ron Darling also had some strong words in support of Adam Jones quotes that the MLB is a “white man’s league”.

Ron Darling: I’m bias. I love me some Adam Jones. He is one of the most well spoken athletes we have in the MLB. He is not wrong and it doesn’t matter what baseball wants to say about it. African-American players have reduced to such a paltry level but it’s not just the players. It’s in the suits, managers on the field, coaches and executives. There are just as many talented minority candidates from Harvard and Dartmouth. I don’t know if Adam would agree but I’d be even more proud if one of these new hot shot GM’s were African-American. I think Adam took a great stance and now it’s up to Major League Baseball to find some common ground with Adam Jones not the other way around.

When asked about Colin Kaepernick’s decision to protest the National Anthem, Gary Sheffield shared who he does and doesn’t have respect for.

Gary Sheffield: I always respect someone who stands for something and doesn’t fall for anything. He (Colin Kaepernick) stands for something and puts his money behind it. Me personally, I try to understand his cause and his cause is the injustice in society and I get it. So what better way to use that (protesting The National Anthem) than for this (injustice in society). I believe that anybody that takes stand…that takes courage. You’ve got a lot of athletes that won’t take a stand and those are the type of guys that get no respect from me.

After heavy conversations on the issues of racial tensions and social injustices in America. I transitioned the conversation into how Gary Sheffield was able to go from MLB superstar to TBS studio analyst and sports agent at his own company. (Real Life Goals!)

Gary Sheffield: I was approached by (TBS) while in Lake Tahoe at a golf tournament. I had people laughing and having a great time. I auditioned and I asked one question. If I say something that’s borderline or titillating the fence, I want to know that you guys are going to have my back.

I’m assuming there answer was YES ! lol and then I was both inspired and impressed by learning that Gary Sheffield is not only a TBS analyst but a certified MLB sports agent.

Gary Sheffield: I did my negotiations with George Steinbrenner and I felt if I could do my negotiations with him I could do it with anybody. I negotiated 100 million dollars by myself, I didn’t need anybody to do that and I didn’t have to pay anybody 5%.

Well with all that said, let the MLB Post-Season Commence!

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Uncertain Times for Africans (in) America in Spite of Kaepernick’s Courage

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If it’s one thing that’s for sure: we are living in uncertain times. Unarmed African-American men, women and children are being murdered at the hands of law enforcement daily. It’s hard to not feel enraged, vulnerable, under attack and oppressed as an African-American in America. But the million dollar question is what are we as a country going to do about it?

NFL superstar Colin Kaepernick has decided to bring awareness to the genocide we are watching before our very eyes, by refusing to stand for the National Anthem. With increasing support coming from fellow NFL players such as teammate Brandon Marshall and Seattle Seahawks Jeremy Lane, U.S. Women Soccer player Megan Rapinoe, the entire WNBA Indiana Fever and 5 SMU band members; who have all kneeled during the National Anthem, Colin’s mission to bring awareness to the inequalities of African-American people has been successful.

However, the Colin Kaepernick conversation seems to be more about the ACT and less about the CAUSE. In every interview I hear reporters ask: “What do you think about Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the national Anthem?” instead of asking “What do you think about the murder of three African-American people this week? As an American what are you going to do about it?”. America is proving to us that a SONG has more value than a BLACK LIFE. I’ve watched athletes, coaches and sports profession exhibit outrage at the sheer thought of someone disrespecting the national anthem but refer to the shooting of an unarmed 13 year old boy as a “social issue”. Let that sink in.

Comments from former NFL coach Mike Ditka like “I think its a problem anybody who disrespects this country and the flag. If they don’t like the country, if they don’t like the flag, get the hell out” I wonder who the “they” is that Mike Ditka is referring to? Is the word “they” in lieu of saying “black people”? It sure sounded like it to me. If indeed those wore Ditka’s intentions, 70& of the National Football League is comprised of African-Americans. A business the 76 year-old is still involved in as an NFL analyst for ESPN. ESPN released no comment in regards to Ditka’s inflammatory words.

As Americans we have to ask ourselves are we truly living in a country that honors its pledge to provide liberty and justice for all ? Or is it liberty and justice for some. The some not including those whose ancestors were enslaved by the very country they call home. The some not including the ones who live in a system designed to oppress, dehumanize and discriminate against them. The some not being those who are MURDERED simply because of the color of their skin.

What Colin Kaepernick is doing is using his platform for the ones who’s faces will never see a TV screen unless their dead. He’s doing what our ancestors did in the 60’s and that’s fight for everything we deserve. We shall overcome…one day.