I am a big fan of Hall-of-Fame baseball player Hank Aaron and I have him on my list of the 20 best players to ever play the game.
When he was going after Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record of 714, he received death threats and racist diatribes. When he finally broke the record hundreds of thousands of fans cheered their heads off – I was one. These fans were from all races.
How many of the fans at the ballpark that day sent him racist letters and death threats? How many of the millions of baseball fans around the country sent him such letters and death threats? How many of the immortal Babe’s fans did this?
I am guessing the “fans” who sent such missives don’t even make up one one-hundredth of one percent. Babe Ruth fans? Hey, no one can replace the Babe but were they acting racist and ranting about the Negro who dared defile the great Bambino? Nah. They just didn’t want Hank Aaron to break the record.
Hank Aaron’s fans didn’t want Barry Bonds to break Aaron’s record (I know I didn’t). In fact, I am sure that Bonds’ received all sorts of missives about steroid use and what a disgrace he was to baseball for his supposed drug usage (read Game of Shadows).
When a person has some fame there will be idiots – a “Nano” percentage – who will react as idiots. I’ve had a few of these jerks in my life.
If the person they are going after is black, these idiots will use racist language, insults and threats. If the person is white?? Same thing. If the person is a country western fan just shot down in a blaze of gunfire in Las Vegas these idiots might say something to the effect that such country-western fans probably voted for Trump and so what if they die? as one CBS executive Hayley Geftman-Gold proclaimed on her Facebook page.
I think we have to be careful when we blame an entire class, race or population of individuals for the evil actions of the few members of that class, race or population. It is cloudy thinking. It is dangerous thinking.
Are there exceptions to my rule? Of course. War is one; sports another. All those people in that uniform are my opponents.
But in general, I think making the individual the representation of the group is a bad way to think; it creates too many enemies for little reason whatsoever.
Frank Scoblete’s latest books are I Am a Dice Controller: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Craps, Confessions of a Wayward Catholic and I Am a Card Counter: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Blackjack. Available from Amazon.com, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, and at bookstores.