I was shocked today to see Flip Bondy of the NY Daily News write such a short, disjointed, trivial attack on our Cleveland Indians:
Good riddance to the Cleveland Indians, who can take their racist, cartoon caps and go home now. I can’t imagine working for an organization that requires such disgraceful garb.
Bondy had some other surface arguments about David Dellucci calling out Joba Chamberlain for being too boisterous on the mound. I agree with Bondy in that respect, Dellucci should just resign himself to the fact that Yankee players will rejoice over anything that they do, because that’s just what kind of team they are. But to bring up the issue of race after the Indians took two out of three from your team is just a bit well…interesting if you ask me. If the Yankees would have swept the Tribe, would there be such outrage? Moreover, should I as a Cleveland Indians fan disown my team because of a decision they made to HONOR one of their greatest players, because people in today’s society claim it to be offensive without first considering the history behind it? And it’s not like the Yankees really have a leg to stand on when it comes to being a champion against racism.
I hate to fly right in the face of one of WFNY’s rules for blogging immediately after reading the article, but I’ll resort to the old “he started it” argument to avoid accusations of picking a fight. I don’t think a Yankee beat writer wants to go down the racism road. There’s this, and this that really just cut Mr. Bondy’s legs out from under him. Also, may I remind Bondy that it was also the racist Cleveland Indians that had the first African-American in the American League in 1947, a full nine years before the Yankees integrated. Elston Howard became the first Yankee in 1955, and should have been on the team much sooner, if it wasn’t for the decision to move Howard from outfielder to catcher in order to keep him off of the big league roster (behind Yogi Berra). The Yankees GM back then, George Weiss? He was a real winner, according to Peter Golenbock’s account of him in the 1975 book, Dynasty: The New York Yankees 1949-1964:
If Weiss had to have a Negro on the Yankees, he would have one. But only one, and he wasn’t going to have an aggressive, crusading, loud mouthed Negro like Jackie Robinson or Vic Power. He would be a Negro who would accept the conditions under which he had to play and not make trouble or headlines. He would live in segregated headquarters during spring training and in the southern cities and accept it, and he would be grateful just for the opportunity to play on the Yankees.
That’s a regular trailblazer right there. So, Flip Bondy, here’s what I have to say to you. If you wrote that article today just for the shock value of it, you should be ashamed of yourself. If you are going to bring up the issue of race and racism, choose a better forum to do it in, and write it in a tone that doesn’t scream, “I’m really upset that we lost two out of three to Cleveland.” You also chose to write about how racist the Indians are, then began the next paragraph by saying, “another annoying development from that gnat-ish team” and went on to describe the Dellucci beef with Joba. If you really mean what you say about the Indians being racist, do you really think it belongs in the same article with a player commenting on another players exuberance? That’s like condemning the Holocaust in one breath, and then turning around and saying, “I really hate it when someone doesn’t replace the cap on the toothpaste.”
Am I saying that the Indians shouldn’t look into changing their mascot? No, I’m not, but writing about it the way you did Mr. Bondy will not get the ball rolling down that hill any faster. In this ever changing media landscape that exists, the questions of journalistic responsibility and accuracy come into play quite frequently. This article submitted by Flip Bondy was neither.