Earlier this evening, the president welcomed Negro League baseball players to the White House to thank them for their role, not just as sportsmen, but as individuals who played a part in the pursuit of something bigger than themselves–the cause of civil rights in this country.
And it would have been so much better, frankly, and so much more inspiring if that was the dominant baseball story today…but it isn’t. Because the long-anticipated suspension of Alex Rodriguez has stolen all the headlines.
It’s alleged that Rodriguez used performance-enhancing drugs, and then destroyed the evidence as the authorities tried to investigate. He’s banned through this and next year, but since he’s appealed, he’s likely to continue playing this season.
Rodriguez has never made any secret of his core commitment, and it has always been to himself. You may recall the self-aggrandizing magazine shoot where his affection for himself is so real that he can’t resist kissing his own reflection.
And instead of reflecting honestly about how drugs have destroyed the integrity of so many sports, Rodriguez is still only concerned about one thing: himself.
Alex Rodriguez believes this entire scandal is not about any higher moral and ethical values, but is solely about him losing out on yet another multi-million dollar contract.
But those Negro League players never had such illusions, because they knew they were never playing for themselves. Those brilliant, bright young men knew that their efforts, albeit on the field of play, would be added to the great team of social activists—led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and others—that would bring civil rights and voting rights to all the citizens of this great nation.
Alex Rodriguez is actually the perfect proof of an ancient truth: that he who keeps his life will lose it.
And today, those Negro League players are the winners by a landslide.