Not quite sure who this Farah poster is…but tear it down if it’s old news.
I went to Yankees spring training in Florida as a young reporter/photographer hoping to break into sports photography. I had complete access on the field taking pictures during the games. While the Yankee players sat in the dugout, Reggie would keep to himself. As you know, he was a controversial figure who despite his great skills did not always get along with the other players and especially manager Billy Martin.
So Jackson took the time to talk to me. At each game, he’d come over and ask me what I was doing. It was very rare to be a female sports photographer back then. I only knew of one other. We’d make small talk but he opened up. He’d gaze deep into the outfield, squint and tell me it wasn’t easy being him. It wasn’t easy to be in the glaring spotlight with both so much praise and criticism surrounding him. I wasn’t sure what he meant until I went to an exhibition game the next day at a downtown Miami stadium. Reggie came over to talk to me again, continuing our conversation about baseball and the Yankees. But as soon as he walked away, I was bombarded by “fans” racing up to me, glaring through the fence and saying such awful things as “What did that black bastard say?” “Why are you talking to that (n-word)?” There were also horrible references of what a black man was really trying to do by talking to a white blonde-haired woman.
...Today no one in the stands is yelling racist comments at Pablo, a Venezuelan, after his great feat. He can savor his three home runs without the very ugly cloud of racism surrounding it. Reggie Jackson cannot say the same thing.
Pablo Sandoval’s three home runs brought back that memory of what I missed. But now I feel my disappointment over missing Reggie’s homers can be cleansed. Although racism still exists in this country, on that Wednesday night in AT&T Stadium in San Francisco, it did not. Thank you, Reggie, for standing strong to help break that barrier.
Posted: October 27, 2012 at 04:50 AM | 2 comment(s)
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