The stakeholders in the game of baseball have made concerted effort to promote integration of major league baseball in the United States. According to Zeiler (46), baseball has remained one of the most popular sports in this country that attracts millions of fans. Traditionally, this game was considered an exclusive sport for the Whites. However, this has changes and great baseball players have sprung up from various races in this country.
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However, the main problem that the game has been facing is the stereotyping that is directed towards players by a section of the society. The Blacks and Asians have suffered from discriminative criticism from various quarters when playing this game.
Media coverage has a major influence in the integration of major league baseball. There has been an effort by the stakeholders to use media positively to promote integration of major league baseball as a way of promoting the sport in the society. The journalists have been tasked with the responsibility of ethical journalism as a way of fighting negative ethnicity that has affected this sport for several years.
There has been concern from the stakeholders that although the press has improved in their reporting, it is still possible to read criticism that has stereotyped connotations in their reports. The researcher believes that mainstream press sources have failed to combat negative ethnicity when reporting about this sport, making it difficult to achieve integration among the stakeholders.
According to Liscio (78), the media houses have made an effort to ensure that their reporting is sensitive to the fact that the United States is an integrated society with people from various races and ethnic groups. They have committed to be responsible in their reporting to ensure that both players and fans of football do not feel offended with the message they pass across.
The 21st century has seen a major shift in the manner in which Americans of different races interact. Liscio (54) says, “It is important to understand how and why the racial integration of professional baseball profoundly affected American society and culture.”
This scholar says that baseball is one of the major sports that bring all Americans together irrespective of the differences in their races. Journalists must realize that when making their reports, they are responsible for the message that comes out to the public.
The message can be a unifying factor or act as a catalyst towards a more disintegrated American society. Journalists’ words have strong impact on the way individual Americans view themselves and other members of the society. The message can make Americans feel that they are in a society that is one large fabric consisting of Americans of all walks of life. In the same manner, it can make Americans feel that they are in a disintegrated society where people are defined by their race or ethnic backgrounds.
For this reason, media stations have come out strongly to integrate the society through responsible journalism. The media houses know that the society is looking upon them to bring people together through messages of unity. In order to understand the progress that has been made, it is necessary to address how African American and mainstream press sources evaluated the prospects and the success of integration.
Evaluation of the prospects and the success of integration by the mainstream press sources
According to the evaluation made by the mainstream press sources, there has been a massive success in the fight against stereotyping and the need for integration of major league baseball. According to Zeiler (85), major media houses such as the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and Sports Illustrated have reworked their reporting policies to be in line with the current efforts that seeks to promote integration.
It is rare to experience cases where reporters make remarks that have racial connotation. Most of these mainstream press sources have based their evaluation on the fact that most Americans no longer consider race as a factor that can be used to determine the credibility of a person. Most Americans abhor messages laced in ethnicity. According to these media, it has been through the effort of the press that the society has come to embrace one another. This is reflected in baseball sports.
In fact, Liscio (112) says that the integration of major league baseball has been completely achieved. The Blacks, Whites, Asians, and other ethnic groups in the United States have been completely integrated as players, reporters, and fans of baseball.
They play together, cheer together and report together in an environment where race plays not part. When they play, cheer, or report, they never realize that they come from different races or ethnic background. They consider themselves as a team brought together by a national sport cherished by many Americans. The reporters have also accepted the fact that they are responsible for their reporting, and they have embraced this integration.
Evaluation of the prospects and the success of integration by the African American press sources
The African American press also agrees that changes have been seen in the fight against racial discrimination in baseball as one of the leading American sports. They are in agreement with the fact that major steps have been made towards achieving integration of major league baseball.
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However, they have some reservation with the manner in which some of the reporters pass their messages to their audience at different levels. They have argued that some of the main stream media have perpetuated stereotypes against a section of baseball players and fans, especially the Blacks and Asians. A section of the society feels that journalists on major media stations still use retrogressive words when describing some of the baseball players.
This may not be manifested in the literal words of the reporters. However, the comparison they make, and their descriptions clearly demonstrate that they have very low opinion towards these players. Sometimes the comments may be easily ignored because of the skilled manner in which these journalists make them. In other cases the stereotype may be so pronounced that their intention to hurt the player or fans cannot be hidden.
Some of the reporters still prefer describing the players based on their skin color or place of origin. Although one may want to ignore this as just a simple description of the players, this is one of the ways of perpetrating ethnicity in the workplace. When a reporter describes one player as a White, another as Black, and another one as an Asian, the reporter will be creating a rift among the players.
To the audience of such a reporter, in the field will be a White, Black, and Asian, instead of American baseball players. This is an issue that is widely ignored by these reporters, but has a serious impact on the manner at which the fight for racial discrimination progresses. It is not possible to say that we are close to achieving success if the stakeholders are constantly reminded of the racial differences of the players.
The reporters must learn to use the names of the players, and their unique characteristics that have nothing to do with their race or ethnic background. It is not possible for a reporter to use skin color when trying to describe two or more Whites. The reporter will be forced to use names and other unique characters of the players to describe them. This is what is expected of the reporters even in cases where the players are from different races. Until this issue is addressed, it may not be easy to claim that the integration of major league baseball has been a success.
The two arguments clearly show that some steps have been made towards achieving integration of major league baseball in this country. They are in agreement that among the players, fans, and reporters, there has been an effort to work as a team without being clouded by ethnic reasoning.
However, while the mainstream media feel that the process of achieving integration is already successful, the African American press sources believe that this success is yet to be achieved. Both sides of the argument have their supporting facts. However, the truth is that some of the reporters still use words that profile players based on their race or ethnic backgrounds. This means that success in integrating major league baseball is yet to be achieved.
Liscio, Stephanie. Integrating Cleveland Baseball: Media Activism, the Integration of the Indians and the Demise of the Negro League Buckeyes. Jefferson: McFarland & Co, 2010. Print.
Zeiler, Thomas. Jackie Robinson and Race in America: A Brief History with Documents. New York: Bedford, 2013. Print.