Baseball heritage boss believes Biden’s use of the term ‘great Negro’ was appropriate – report
The US president's apparent reference to a legendary baseball pitcher as "the great Negro", which sparked fury and a 'racist Joe Biden' hashtag on Twitter, has reportedly been welcomed by one expert.
In a Veterans Day speech confirmed by White House transcripts, Biden refered to Satchel Paige, who was part of the Negro Leagues and went on to become a professional, and claimed he had "adopted the attitude of the great Negro".
Fact-checking website Snopes said the "context surrounding that sentence fragment" did not support accusations that Biden had been talking about Paige when he used the term ‘the great Negro.’
Mediaite was also heavily criticized for an article by liberal commentator Tommy Christopher which said that Biden had meant to refer to the Negro Leagues.
NOW - Biden tells a story about pitcher Satchel Paige, referring to him as "the great negro at the time."pic.twitter.com/uwnkUlBTsL— Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) November 11, 2021
Despite many on social media expressing their shock at what they perceived to be clearly racist comments, Bob Kendrick, the President of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, has also backed Biden, according to TMZ.
The outlet called the comments "cringeworthy" but said Kendrick had found it "crystal clear" that the head of state did not mean to refer to Paige, even adding that he felt it would have been "harmful" to use a word other than 'Negro'.
The word is said to still be widespread at the venue in Kansas City. "It was an honor that the President made a point to honor Satchel Paige, who happened to be one of the greatest pitchers," Kendrick was quoted as saying, with the article summarizing his thoughts on Biden's wording as being "100% complimentary."
The media: He’s so well spoken. What a very intelligent individual. Finally, a President that units us all with his great words of compassion. This will go down in history as one of the greatest speeches ever, better than MLKs “I had a dream.” 🤡🌎 pic.twitter.com/SvoY8EDD8Z— 🇲🇽 Free-thinker 🇺🇸 (@JayR_Ced) November 11, 2021
I don't think that's what's happening here - he is about to say "great Negro League pitcher", then stops himself after "Negro" because he's worried it will sound offensive without the historical context, and says " - at the time - pitcher in the Negro League".— Thomas Stern (@thmstern) November 11, 2021
Supporters of the venue keen to highlight the fascinating history of the Negro Leagues, including hugely-followed ESPN reporter Jeff Passan and local anchor Nick Vasos, welcomed the unexpected attention for the attraction while the controversy raged on social media, with Vasos describing the museum as a "treasure".
Writing on Instagram, Kendrick said: "The legendary Satchel Paige is getting a lot of attention in the news and on social media. No-one would enjoy the attention more than Satchel."
There was also confusion last month when a brief edited clip of Biden meeting Pope Francis appeared to show him telling the leader that he was the “famous African-American baseball player".
Although his critics decried the footage as more evidence of what they see as Biden's forgetfulness and occasional incomprehensibility, others pointed out that he often tells the story of Paige, who joined the Major Leagues in his 40s, as an anecdote about age being no barrier to success.
What’s going to be even more entertaining than him actually saying this is the mainstream media defending him saying this.— doug heffernan (@i_hate_arthurNY) November 11, 2021
I thought we no longer had a president who would embarrass us on the world stage. Whatever you think of Trump (not a fan myself) at least he didn’t confuse the Pope with Satchel Paige stories, make Mussolini references in Italy or get handsy with the British royal family.— The Jer Report®️ (@BakoJer) November 4, 2021
“Usually, pitchers lose their arms when they’re 35," Biden told the Pope, via an Italian interpreter. "He pitched a win on his 47th birthday.
"The press walked into the locker room and said – his name was Satchel Paige – they came in and said, ‘Satch, no one’s ever pitched a win at age 47. How do you feel about pitching a win on your birthday?’
"He looked at them and said, ‘Boys, that’s not how I look at age. I look at it this way: How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were?’”
Biden and the Pope then both laughed as the Democrat told him: “You’re 65 and I'm 60." Biden is 78, while the Pope is 84.