In an interview Tuesday, Hank Aaron, the man who broke Babe Ruth’s home-run record in 1974, compared GOP lawmakers who oppose President Obama to the Ku Klux Klan.
On the 40th anniversary of his 715th home run, Aaron echoed the Democratic Party’s well-worn talking points when he suggested that Republicans are obstructing Obama’s agenda.
“Sure, this country has a black president, but when you look at a black president, President Obama is left with his foot stuck in the mud from all of the Republicans with the way he’s treated,” the Hall of Famer told USA Today Sports.
Not content to leave well enough alone, Aaron pushed further.
“The bigger difference is that back then they had hoods,” he added. “Now they have neckties and starched shirts.”
Aaron, 80, is seen by many as the real home-run king with his 755 dingers because he did it “all natural” — Barry Bonds has 762 homers, but is widely believed to have been “juiced” on performance enhancing drugs.
For whatever reason, instead of celebrating Aaron’s historic feat, USA Today chose to focus on the racial animosity he experienced some 40 years ago as he neared Ruth’s record — ‘Hammerin Hank’ received a number of death threats from some fans.
Letters that he kept all these years.
“To remind myself that we are not that far removed from when I was chasing the record,” he said. “If you think that, you are fooling yourself.”
Even though he seemed to dismiss the fact that we have an African-American president, Aaron did try to put a positive spin on race relations.
“We have moved in the right direction, and there have been improvements, but we still have a long ways to go in the country,” he said.
A destination that will be difficult to reach, unless we set aside the name calling.