La Russa takes is­sue with O’s Jones

Baltimore Sun - - BASEBALL -

For­mer man­ager Tony La Russa rec­og­nizes there are is­sues that af­fect the black com­mu­nity in the United States, but he doesn’t agree with what Ori­oles star Adam Jones said and ques­tions the mo­tives of 49ers quar­ter­back Colin Kaeper­nick for kneel­ing dur­ing the na­tional an­them.

Ap­pear­ing Wed­nes­day on ESPN Ra­dio, La Russa said that while he re­spects Jones as a per­son and player, the out­fielder was off base when he said base­ball is a “white man’s sport.”

“When he says it’s a white, like elit­ist kind of sport, how much wronger can he be?” said La Russa, now the chief base­ball of­fi­cer of the Di­a­mond­backs. “We want the black athletes to play base­ball and we’re work­ing to make that hap­pen in the in­ner cities. We have a lot of Latin play­ers, we have play­ers from the Pa­cific Rim.”

La Russa said base­ball is the smart choice for young athletes re­gard­less of race.

“If you pick the sport where you have all shapes and sizes, you can re­tire and not walk around crip­pled, it’s got to be base­ball,” he said.

La Russa also said he “re­ally dis­trust(s)” Kaeper­nick’s sin­cer­ity.

“I was there in the Bay Area when he first was a star (and) I never once saw him do any­thing but pro­mote him­self,” La Russa said. “All of a sud­den now he’s a sec­ond-stringer and he’s got this mis­sion. Even if he was sin­cere, there’s ways to ex­press your be­lief in some of the is­sues that face blacks around this coun­try with­out dis­re­spect­ing the coun­try you live in or the flag that it rep­re­sents.”

When asked if as a man­ager he would let a player sit dur­ing the an­them, La Russa said he “ab­so­lutely would not al­low it.”

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