Washington Nationals manager and former Dodgers player Dusty Baker, said in a recent interview that he believes athletes should use their platform to speak about politics.
Baker was asked about players pushing their politics instead of “sticking to sports,” the Nationals manager claimed that the stadium isn’t just a “sanctuary” for fans to escape life for a while. It is “a sanctuary for us, too,” he said according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Baker explained, “Sports can’t be silent. They want you to be silent, but this is a microcosm of our whole society. It’s more of a microcosm than probably any other occupation in the world. How many different jobs have as many Latin Americans, blacks, whites, Europeans, Asians — American and from Asia — Africans. You understand? So how can it be separate?”
Baker also stressed how athletes have ideas and opinions as well. Baker said, “These guys have ideas. They’ve all been raised differently. They’ve got some Republicans in [the clubhouse]. They’ve got some Democrats. They have some Trump supporters. They have some Hillary Clinton supporters. … So how can it be separate? They’re actually like the fans themselves, but they’ve just got a baseball uniform on, and you go watch them play.”
Baker, a former U.S. Marine and one of only two black managers currently in Major League Baseball, also thinks the protests that are going on today pale in comparison to those of the 60s and 70s.
While Baker seemed to believe that things have gotten better, he also claimed that we still have major problems with racism today.
Baker said, “There was anti-Vietnam. There was riots. There was segregation. There were more things then than there are now. Things have improved in many ways, but they’ve regressed in many other ways. We have a problem. Anybody who doesn’t think we have a problem, they need to look around and ask the young people. And we do have a problem.”
Major League Baseball has only one player currently protesting at games, A’s catcher Bruce Maxwell. No other players have joined Maxwell in his protests since he began them a few weeks ago.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.