In an upcoming interview with Bob Costas, Reggie Jackson comes forward with allegations that his former manager, Billy Martin, was a bit of a racist.
The interview will air on MLB Network on Monday. Here are a few excerpts:
…I did not accept the way he managed me. I did not accept the way he managed [pitcher] Ken Holtzman. I thought there was anti-Semitism there…I couldn’t accept that. I couldn’t accept the racial epithets in reference to players like Elliot Maddox or Billy Sample.
There are players that played for him that would tell you that [he made racist or anti-Semitic comments]. So there was an uneasiness, a knowledge about the person that I was very uncomfortable with…I struggled to have respect for Billy as a person and had it reinforced with the anti-Semitism that I witnessed.
Reggie also claims that Martin referred to him as “boy” during their infamous dugout confrontation at Fenway Park in 1977.
Look, we all know that Reggie and Billy did not get along. That’s no secret. They hated each other. My question is why bring this up 34 years later? If this actually did happen why wait so long to air the dirty laundry? Martin died in 1989, you’re not hurting him (or helping anyone else) by dragging his name through the mud now. The man had many faults — he was an alcoholic, adulterer, among other things — so why start with this?
Just let sleeping dogs lie if it is in fact true. One reason I doubt these claims is because if he was racist why do African-American players such as Ricky Henderson and Rod Carew express their love for him?
Also, if true, it’s really not a surprise that an Italian man born in 1928 was a tad racist. I’m not trying to defend it or say it’s right by any means — it’s abhorrent and I don’t condone it at all — but that’s just how they were raised back in the day. You ever meet my grandpa?
The Daily News asked Jackson to clarify his remarks yesterday and he said he was trying to educate and not “trample on a man’s grave.” That sounds like a lie. It appears Reggie is trying to get back in the spotlight to stroke his ego.
Someone needs to know that this is what happened. I don’t hold anybody responsible. I have forgiven, but not forgotten and the minorities of the world have experienced it, not just me. Let this be a reminder that we need to be a little bit better.
I love how Reggie comes off all high and mighty. He was no angel in his playing days. He was one of the most selfish and hated Yankees within the clubhouse while with the team, notoriously feuding with Yankee captain Thurman Munson and others.
Billy Martin, Jr., FTW, today:
I can assure you my father was not a racist. My father was about winning. That’s all he cared about. He put people on the field as best he thought to get victories. He didn’t care about anyone’s background. He just wanted the best player on the field. My father could’ve cared less about anything other than winning. He wasn’t there to make friends, but to make winners. Let’s let my father rest.