How can anyone hate Henry Aaron?

As y’all know I am not easily shocked, but the flow of racist vitriol directed at a genuine American hero has come close to shocking me. Hank Aaron’s original sin was breaking the Babe’s record but his current offense, of course, is standing up for his fellow pioneer, Barack Obama:

The Atlanta Braves have been deluged with hate mail after baseball great Hank Aaron’s recent comments about racism in America and President Obama’s critics.

According to USA Today, the Braves organization has received hundreds of letters, emails and phone calls since Aaron made his comments a week ago.

“Hank Aaron is a scumbag piece of (expletive) (racial slur)’ read an email from a man named Edward, according to USA Today.

Edward evidently used the racist epithet five times.

“My old man instilled in my mind from a young age, the only good (racial slur) is a dead (racial slur),” he wrote in closing.

One man called Aaron a “racist scumbag,” while another vowed to never attend another Braves game until Aaron is fired from the team’s front office. A man named David said he plans to burn Aaron’s autobiography.

I am not a violent person but reading this shit makes me want to take a baseball bat upside their empty heads. Henry Aaron is an American hero and a man with more dignity and grace in his little finger than these scumbags who dare to call him a scumbag. Hiding behind an anonymous name makes some people feel all brave and manly. I’d like to see these racist motherfuckers say that to Mr. Aaron’s face but I know they wouldn’t have the nerve. It’s also tres classy to insult an 80 year old man.

Twas a dispiriting story to read on Jackie Robinson day, y’all. I’d like to feed those guys to Jackie circa 1949 after he stopped turning the other cheek. He’d give them a piece of his mind and perhaps a swift kick up the ass.

Now that I’ve vented, here’s an antidote: a picture of Hank Aaron with two other heroes, Roberto Clemente and Willie Mays:


Update: There’s a splendid piece at the Nation on the Aaron flap by Dave Zirin.

3 thoughts on “How can anyone hate Henry Aaron?

  1. I have that photo in my house. Never been a Willie guy, but I loved the Hammer and Roberto. If you ever watched a retrospective on Aaron, it’s incredible how his life changed over time, especially as a result of his assault on 714. Bob Costas said in public Aaron guards his drink and his food. Aaron kept all the hate mail he received.
    Although I don’t want to start a row here, but I wonder how much different his life would have been if the Braves had stayed in Milwaukee. I know there was ugly everywhere (and there still is) but that “stars and bars” mentality is still unfortunately alive in a lot of southern spots.

  2. When it comes to classy, Henry Aaron is out of everyone’s league.
    If someone might attempt to insult him, the only possible result is to make themselves look bad. It’s just impossible. They guy lived his entire life with incredible grace and dignity.

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