The baseball legend admires today’s athletes for their activism.
Since becoming president, Donald Trump has already disinvited two championship teams from visiting the White House: the Super Bowl LII winning Philadelphia Eagles, and the 2017 NBA Champion Golden State Warriors.
The Warriors lost their invite after the MVP Steph Curry and his teammates wouldn’t commit to attending the event.
“Not surprised,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said at the time. “He [Trump] was going to break up with us before we could break up with him.”
Trump also canceled an event with the Eagles after he learned that less than 10 players said they would attend.
Photo by LBJ Library/Flickr
Now, Baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron says that he’d also refuse a trip to the White House if invited today for one simple reason: “There’s nobody there I want to see,” he told The Atlanta-Journal Constitution while speaking at the Hank Aaron Champion for Justice Awards, adding, “I can understand where the players are coming from. I really do. I understand they have their own issues and things they feel conviction about. They have a right to that, and I probably would be the same way, there’s no question about it.”
As someone who spent two decades in the limelight, Aaron appreciates the activism of today’s stars.
“To be honest, I feel somewhat guilty that I didn’t do possibly as much as I could have done,” Aaron said. “We didn’t get to where we are today because we kept our mouth closed or scratched our head and sat and didn’t do anything. If you have an opinion, then you should voice it and let people know that is your opinion and you’re not speaking for anybody but yourself.”
On this date in 1974: Hank Aaron hit No. 715 to pass Babe Ruth for No. 1 on the all-time home run list. pic.twitter.com/AUd7wbGaIB— ESPN (@espn) April 8, 2018\n
Although Aaron may not have been outspoken in his playing days, he faced a vicious campaign of hate with a dignity that was louder than words. While chasing Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record in the early ‘70s, bigots from across the country sent him so much hate mail, the U.S. post office gave him a plaque for receiving more letters than any other American (not including politicians).
As the biggest star on the first Major League Baseball team in the Deep South, Aaron also broke racial boundaries.
“He became the first black man for whom white fans in the South cheered,” said Georgia native and former U.S. president, Jimmy Carter. “A humble man who did not seek the limelight, he just wanted to play baseball, which he did exquisitely.”