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Is MLB Network Ignoring Black Outrage By Continuing To Air Chris Russo's "High Heat" Show?

Days after Chris Russo's racist rant, he's still getting a check from Major League Baseball. Something's not adding up.

Russo_high

By J.R. Gamble May 06, 2014, 02:17 PM EST

Sirius XM radio kingpin Chris “Mad Dog” Russo slung mud on an entire race and community of highly-qualified and capable black professionals when in a YouTube post provided by The Warrior Report, Howard Kinsel calls into Mad Dog's show and poses a question to Russo about his failure to have African-American sports journalists as hosts. In a stunning admission, Russo proudly says that there are no qualified blacks worthy or capable of coming on his show and enlightening his paid listeners.

That was posted on May 1st. It has since been unanimously deemed highly-offensive by anyone who has listened to the audio clip. If Sirius is making money and people are subscribing to Mad Dog Unleashed and Russo’s sports talk channel called Mad Dog Radio, then I guess he’s free to spit whatever nonsense he sees fit.

With that being said, why are we still watching him on MLB Network every day at 1pm Eastern on his show, High Heat?

 

I have to call out MLB for its hypocrisy with this one. MLB promotes black and inner-city, underserved kids and their baseball and educational endeavors through its Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) Program. It goes the extra mile to celebrate the legacy of Jackie Robinson each year and remind us of his impact and importance to the game by having all players wear No. 42. Commissioner Bud Selig in his retirement year has taken it upon himself to stress how important the black player is to the fabric of baseball, even appointing a 17-member committee to oversee the process of reinvigorating the passion for baseball that African-American’s once shared decades ago.

MLB is credited with being a historical leader in addressing race, abolishing segregation and embracing all nations.

The problem is, these cats are harboring a known white supremacist.

The word racist is becoming kind of commercial and losing its shock effect, so calling Christopher Russo a white supremacist would be less of an insult, but much more accurate and effective for my purposes.

Why is he still working for MLB Network after his racially insensitive, foolish and revealing comments about blacks being incapable of hosting national radio shows and not knowing enough about sports or being engaging enough to maintain an audience?

We can’t have these prehistoric philosophies polluting our airwaves. Major League Baseball of all sports can’t be paying a guy who marginalizes, ignores or dismisses the talents of anyone based on race. That is rule Numero Uno in most every work place in America.

Is having "Mad Dog" host a show more important than maintaining MLB’s integrity? This story has been circulating with fervor and has offended a slew of prominent African-American journalists including ESPN’s Jemele Hill and Michael Smith, who addressed the situation first brought to light by The Shadow League, on their His and Hers podcast on espn.com. ESPN’s Around the Horn stalwart Bomani Jones also had some problems with Russo's comments. 

Basketball analysts @realchriswebber and @GregAnthony50 couldn't believe the recording was authenitic, with Anthony tweeting, "Please tell me that's a doctored tape !!! Wow.  

“The idea that I wouldn’t hire a black talk-show host, a Korean talk-show host, or a talk-show host from Mars is absurd,” Russo said. “If there is any person of any ethnicity who wants to get a job at ‘Mad Dog Radio’ and we feel he or she is capable of doing a national talk show at the highest level, I’d put them on in a second." 

Russo might be backtracking a bit but he hasn't changed his tone. He's still dissing the pool of African-Americans who would love to have a job learning under a radio titan.

"Let’s just say we are not being overwhelmed by resumes," Russo said. 

As mentioned in a previous article, Russo wasn't a ready-to-order product. He had to refine his skills before he was honed enough for the limelight, but he had support and some program director believed in his potential. 

“Send me the damn resumes,” Russo said.

What minority is going to send a resume to a guy who outwardly expresses a belief that blacks are inferior in his profession?

We all know that his money train moves at 100 mph and at this point, Russo’s people are hoping that this situation just fades away. Even though he didn’t express those bigoted sentiments on MLB Network, the former Mike and The Mad Dog co-host is a sportstalk radio icon and his arm of influence stretches a quarter of a century. He has helped shape the profession and similar to Donald Sterling, has obviously let his racially demeaning beliefs affect his hiring practices and his overall opinion of black people in general.
 
There’s no place in MLB for a white guy who feels he’s better than a black person just because he’s white. It’s a recipe for disaster and destruction. How did Russo last all of these years? Obviously no one ever asked him a question about his hiring practices or true feelings about blacks.

But just as NBA commish Adam Silver apologized to African-American legends of the past, whose blood, sweat and tears helped shape the game of basketball into the billion dollar industry it is today, MLB has an obligation to Jackie Robinson, Frank Robinson, Larry Doby, Satchel Paige and the like, to take an unaccepting stance on racial discrimination or any MLB affiliate that expresses psychologically demeaning and toxic banter and opinions that disparage a particular race.

So far they haven’t kicked him to the curb, fined or suspended Russo for his outlandish and egregiously insensitive remarks. He’s still on the air, bigoted business as usual. Can we at least get a statement by Sirius XM or MLB Network or the MLB office denouncing the comments ? It’s only right.

Jr_gamble

J.R. Gamble writes for The Shadow League. He's been covering pro sports as a radio host and journalist since 1996. He's written for The Raleigh News & Observer, Newsday and SLAM Magazine. He has co-hosted Sportsrap Radio with A Tribe Called Quest legend Phife Dawg. Follow him @fanalyst1 & find him on Facebook.

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TheShadowLeague.com, a site dedicated to presenting journalistically sound sports coverage with a cultural perspective that insightfully informs sports fans worldwide. Founded and developed by media entrepreneur Keith Clinkscales, TSL is owned by Shadow League Digital a multi-platform content creation company.