The Best Red Sportswriter

Commie Columnist Lester Rodney's Fight for Jackie Robinson

LR: I think that's true, and I thought of that when I heard about what Limbaugh said. Of course a lot of people, myself included, rooted for black ballplayers because they were black. I don't know why that should be considered a controversial statement. That leads, inevitably, to overrating certain players. I'm not defending Limbaugh's politics, but I think he just said out loud what some people were thinking. I don't see anything particularly wrong with it.

VV: I think part of the reaction was due to everyone's refusal to even acknowledge the issue of race in sports, as if it no longer exists just because there are so many great black athletes. It's almost like on the one hand everybody wants to feel that they're liberal-minded—

LR: But they don't want to be labeled liberal.

VV: Yes, that's it, and everyone is anxious to equate being liberal-minded with color blindness, like, "Oh, I don't even notice the color of the players I root for."

LR: Yeah, that's very interesting. In about 70 years sportswriters have gone from refusing to acknowledge there were no black players on the field to wanting to believe that all racial issues in sports have disappeared.

VV: If you were a sportswriter today, how would you address these controversial issues?

LR: I'd go right on agitating.

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