August 31, 2008

Recalling Al Campanis' 'Nightline' nightmare: I turned to my wife, horror-stricken that the man I had invited to honor his old friend was committing professional suicide on live television, and predicted he might not survive this interview.

posted by justgary to baseball at 03:53 AM - 5 comments

Here's a video of the interview.

posted by BoKnows at 01:35 PM on August 31, 2008

Ohh, thanks bo knows.

posted by justgary at 02:48 PM on August 31, 2008

"Truth be told, I think what we heard that night was a 70-year-old man say some things people of his generation said in a locker room. Not acceptable, but such words don't necessarily equal racism."

I have to disagree with the author here. Things like this, the true attitudes of generations before us, and of many today, very much equal racism. In fact what people say in the locker room, or the bar room, or the board room, where ever they think no one will bust them, is the very essence of racism.

I try very hard not to consider people evil for being born when and where they were and I do not consider Campanis evil. He merely reflected the attitudes and beliefs he grew up with. Abe Lincoln, while way ahead of the curve for his time, still had beliefs about race that would mark him as worse than Campanis today.

Evil? No, I don't think that. But racist? Absolutely. The attitudes of people like Al Campanis were the reason there were no black managers at that time.

posted by gradioc at 07:29 PM on August 31, 2008

I agree with gradioc, that was just racism pure and simple. What is so strange about that is that Koppel tried to save Campanis from himself, but he didn't want to be saved.

posted by bperk at 03:12 PM on September 02, 2008

I hate the word "racism" because, to me at least, it stirs up images of Bull Connor and George Wallace. These people didn't just look down on blacks. They hated them and would go to outrageous lengths to keep them from sitting at the front of the bus.

Campanis IMO was prejudiced, a less-loaded but accurate term. He pre-judged the capabilities of a potential job applicant based on racial characteristics.

That said, it was immensely stupid and he deserved to be fired.

posted by drumdance at 11:59 PM on September 03, 2008

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