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Torii Hunter is angry

Mar 10, 2010, 3:37 PM EST

Thumbnail image for hunter_torii_091015.jpgThe Los Angeles Times caught up with Torii Hunter today and got his comments about his outrageous comments in this morning’s USA Today.  Short version: Hunter is pissed off:

Hunter, who directs much of his charitable efforts to the
development of inner-city baseball, claimed his comments “were
distorted and taken out of context.”

“I’m not apologizing because I didn’t say anything like that,”
Hunter said before Wednesday’s exhibition game against Cincinnati. “I’m
[ticked] right now. I’m upset. And people wonder why athletes don’t
talk to the media that much. It’s stupid.

“That wasn’t even the main topic of the discussion. That was like a
piece of the conversation, .5% of 100%. The main topic was that there
are no scholarships for baseball. … It wasn’t a negative story. It
was a positive story. I try to get a lot of inner-city kids to play the
game. I’ve done the research. That’s why I have all the programs.”

I guess the real question is whether Hunter is mad because the quotes are not accurate or if the quotes are accurate but he is simply mad at how he was portrayed in the article.  I get this feeling we’ll be hearing more about this soon enough.

  1. judi - Mar 10, 2010 at 3:58 PM

    Yeah I read the USA article and I have no idea how he can say he was misquoted or something was taken out of context. Just because something was only .5% of a conversation doesn’t make it any less glaringly stupid.

  2. Largebill - Mar 10, 2010 at 4:23 PM

    If you speak for hour and in a 30 second part of that hour you say something outrageous you can’t be too surprised if the outrageous comments get more play. He should talk to Marge Schott. Overall she was a nice lady. However, she said some really stupid stuff. When people remember her they don’t talk about her charitable works. Nope, first thoughts/comments about her concern her saying something along the lines that Hitler did some good stuff before he did a lot of bad stuff. Second comment about her usually concerned her dog crapping on the playing field. Same thing with Hunter. He could have been rational for the majority of the interview. However, the crazy racist comments were obviously more noteworthy.

  3. Jonny5 - Mar 10, 2010 at 4:37 PM

    “And people wonder why athletes don’t talk to the media that much. It’s stupid.”
    Hey man, in today’s world of PCism (which is an infectious disease in this country btw) You’re better off keeping your thoughts to yourself while the mike is in your face. Stupid is as stupid says.

  4. Derek - Mar 10, 2010 at 4:41 PM

    Torii Hunter is from Pine Bluff, AR. Blackness has a much different meaning for him than it does for Vlad. I feel like the point he was inexpertly attempting to make (which seems clear to at least Professor Dave in the previous comments section) is valid.
    Just like any work force, the Major League farm system prefers workers who are malleable and lack options. Succeeding as a pro baseball player is a long process, one which values the system/team over individual, non-superstar athletes (despite the little-known fact that the MLB pays for the education of failed draftees). I very much prefer the farm system to the NCAA system, which I see as far more exploitative, but the way the MLB system operates in the developing world should bother people for plenty of reasons. I see the farm metaphor literalized to a dehumanizing extent in countries like the DC, where children are adopted fulltime into the MLB system at a ridiculous age, when their long-term success is far from predictable. Native-born black athletes see 1) a weakening in their bargaining position due to non-native athletes who have basically been raised by the Man and 2) non-native athletes providing a racialized smokescreen for a professional sports league that does very little reaching out to African-Americans in general, especially poor African-Americans in the inner city.
    Acknowledging that African-American athletes and black Caribbean athletes are products of different circumstances shouldn’t be all that difficult. Hunter did a poor job getting his point across, but one of the most likable athletes in the sport deserves to be cut some slack, especially considering his non-baseball work. Next time, you can be sure he’ll leave the spokesman work to the communications people at his various charity organizations.

  5. Derek - Mar 10, 2010 at 4:43 PM

    Torii Hunter is from Pine Bluff, AR. Blackness has a much different meaning for him than it does for Vlad. I feel like the point he was inexpertly attempting to make (which seems clear to at least Professor Dave in the previous comments section) is valid.
    Just like any work force, the Major League farm system prefers workers who are malleable and lack options. Succeeding as a pro baseball player is a long process, one which values the system/team over individual, non-superstar athletes (despite the little-known fact that the MLB pays for the education of failed draftees). I very much prefer the farm system to the NCAA system, which I see as far more exploitative, but the way the MLB system operates in the developing world should bother people for plenty of reasons. I see the farm metaphor literalized to a dehumanizing extent in countries like the DC, where children are adopted fulltime into the MLB system at a ridiculous age, when their long-term success is far from predictable. Native-born black athletes see 1) a weakening in their bargaining position due to non-native athletes who have basically been raised by the Man and 2) non-native athletes providing a racialized smokescreen for a professional sports league that does very little reaching out to African-Americans in general, especially poor African-Americans in the inner city.
    Acknowledging that African-American athletes and black Caribbean athletes are products of different circumstances shouldn’t be all that difficult. Hunter did a poor job getting his point across, but one of the most likable athletes in the sport deserves to be cut some slack, especially considering his non-baseball work. Next time, you can be sure he’ll leave the spokesman work to the communications people at his various charity organizations.

  6. Pete Toms - Mar 10, 2010 at 4:52 PM

    Ahhh…nuthing gets us chattering classes riled up like the subject of race.
    1. I agree with everybody that Hunter’s characterization of Latin players as non black is dumb.
    2. His “bag of potato chips” comment, though crass, is accurate. It is cheaper for MLB to acquire players in Latin America than it is via the draft. Jimmie Lee Solomon admitted it a few years ago.

  7. heywood Jablomey - Mar 10, 2010 at 4:58 PM

    He’s right!

  8. ken chicago - Mar 10, 2010 at 5:01 PM

    Why anyone would talk to a news reporter or sports reporter is beyond me. Their biased, incompetent, stupid sensationalism is a sign of a demented cockroach. News reporters should be viewed and not seen. Athletes should ignore them. If contracts require words: yes and no! or “You’re a jerk!” The people of the US don’t give a rats butt about news journalists anymore. So athletes should join in and kick them down!

  9. shenlee - Mar 10, 2010 at 5:06 PM

    ken chicago: You are absolutely correct!! Why anyone grants an interview these days is beyond me. The news media is only interested in sensationalism—not facts!!

  10. Jookie - Mar 10, 2010 at 5:19 PM

    I am a child of Jamaican immigrants and I hear the same thing all over the south, Southern blacks dont consider West Indians(jamaicans, Trinidadians,etc), Africans(Nigerians,Ethiopians, Ghanaians, ect, South American Blacks(Brazilian columbian, Venezuelans, etc.) black. Going to school in Louisiana and living in Mississippi and Georgia, you hear the same thing from african americans: “We are the “Real” Black” I always ask then what the hell are we and we both have roots in africa. Only Southern blacks say this and I have to say is a case of ignorance; no wonder the term African American was coined. Ignorant.

  11. geo - Mar 10, 2010 at 5:19 PM

    Listen, It IS A BUSINESS, and if the teams, well most, could draft or sign a black player, white, green, red, hopefully you get the point. This man is a good guy as far as what i know about his charity’s and community work. I also would like to say that I enjoy how he plays the game. Tori has unfortunately put his foot in his mouth. He made it, he’s not that old, well spoken( not this time), but what he is taliking about has been going on for the last twenty years. So obviously it did not affect him. Is there a little validity in what he is saying, yes the same amount that the people he is accusing are. Look at the money being thrown at the Asian ballplayers, they are getting signing bonuses like crazy. Tori has said what he has said. Now lets hope it goes away.

  12. JRoc - Mar 10, 2010 at 5:27 PM

    Jocks are idiots, but they need attention, hence the interviews. Black are as racist, if not even more, than their Redneck Cracker counterparts. So you are blacker. No. but you are an asshat Mr Hunter. this is why i discourage my son from participating in team sports. Just look at the complete idiots they have to look up to. Dont worry, with his attitude he will be the arrested jock of the week soon

  13. jay - Mar 10, 2010 at 5:33 PM

    I enjoyed listening to your perspective. Perhaps what some of the Southern blacks are trying to tell you is that your not “really black” because you’re not full of hopelessness, hatred,dispair and blame.

  14. Wayne Paris - Mar 10, 2010 at 5:34 PM

    My parents brought our family from Trinidad in 1972 and I’ve been hearing that argument ever since. I joined the army in 1975 and Blacks from NYC, Detroit and most major cities had the same perception. The Southern Blacks thought I was one of their own because I had an accent. This division between Blacks from any place other than those born in the USA is a creation of major media players. Ever so often I’ve read articles in the New York Times, Boston Globe and other major newspapers on the east coast that spew this nonesense. Blacks born in the USA can read and when they read stuff like that it bound to have an effect on them.

  15. Tom - Mar 10, 2010 at 5:40 PM

    What in the world are you talking about?
    “Just like any work force, the Major League farm system prefers workers who are malleable and lack options.”
    Really?
    I don’t even want to get into the rest of your comment.

  16. WinDelRoj - Mar 10, 2010 at 5:43 PM

    Many people dont realize that america is also region. The United States of America is a country. Calling someone African American is more so about people of African descent occupying the America’s and Black is in reference to skin color. Saying someone from Ireland who is white is not white but rather an impostor, is absurd.

  17. Vinny - Mar 10, 2010 at 5:50 PM

    This article highlights why EDUCATION is key to overcoming ignorance. Torii Hunter, like some african americans believes that being seperated by an ocean or language makes people of African descent different or “imposters”. The terminology should be corrected first. Race and nationality are apples and oranges. Vladimir Guerrero and Torii Hunter are both “black”. Vladimir Guerrero’s nationality is Dominican. Torii Hunter’s nationality is American. Now lets have the discussion about the economics of baseball, the lack of African Americans in the sport, but not the lack of “blacks”.

  18. WunderWhatColorU-R Judi - Mar 10, 2010 at 6:05 PM

    Hunter is trying to do something for American kids. You are not. The sports idiot who wrote that trash is not.
    The reporter and his editor are the people who should have their reputations destroyed, not Hunter. That isn’t journalism, it is gotcha character assassination.
    And no – I don’t really wonder at all what color you or the jackal reporter are. We know that from what you write.

  19. Trish - Mar 10, 2010 at 6:05 PM

    i am one of them who are proud that some of the southern dont see us black as real black because some of them are from a different black generation there behaviour and style are disgraceful.

  20. Elmer Fludd - Mar 10, 2010 at 6:06 PM

    I live in Western New York. The media here thinks they are movie stars. They can’t even get a good looking and smart blond right. As far as reporting, they can’t report a car accident without fudging the facts.

  21. judi - Mar 10, 2010 at 6:08 PM

    LOL at you determining what color I am based on what I wrote! You’re wrong btw but that gave me a great laugh, thanks! Oh and you can’t blame the journalist for writing the idiotic words that came straight out of Hunter’s mouth no matter how much you might like to.

  22. gruntersdad - Mar 10, 2010 at 6:16 PM

    Man are you ever right on about the PC diseased pandemic world we live in. Everyone is so afraid that a comment made about anything may cost them money or a lawsuit. Grow up America and stop you god damned whining.

  23. JD - Mar 10, 2010 at 6:32 PM

    No one should wonder why athletes do not talk to the media….most of them have very little to say, and when they do, it is usually stupid! You know, like that other highly educated group….actors!

  24. HaloFan - Mar 10, 2010 at 6:40 PM

    http://toriihunter.mlblogs.com/archives/2010/03/a_hurtful_unfortunate_episode.html

  25. Ron - Mar 10, 2010 at 6:51 PM

    I lived in Africa. When black Americans would go there and call themselves ‘African-American’, the locals laughed at them and ridiculed them. It wasn’t good-nautred fun.
    Africans didn’t feel that black Americans understood what it meant to be African.
    Maybe Hunter needs to take a vacation.

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