In a story published by USA Today, baseball icon Hank Aaron said that America has a long way to go to combat modern-day racism and it wasn’t long before racists on Twitter proved that he was absolutely right.
In the interview, the former home-run champ talked about the hate mail he received when he broke Babe Ruth’s home-run record in 1974. Unfortunately, Aaron would experience deja vu with a modern-day twist after he spoke out about how racism still thrives today.
“A lot of things have happened in this country, but we have so far to go,” Aaron said. “There’s not a whole lot that has changed.”
Some people have argued that welcoming the country’s first Black president is proof that enough progress has been made, but Aaron quickly debunked that idea.
“Sure, this country has a Black president, but when you look at a Black president, President Obama is left with his foot stuck in the mud from all of the Republicans with the way he’s treated,” he added.
In a powerful statement, he went on to name the only thing he believes has changed about racists in America since the 1970s.
“The bigger difference is back then they had hoods,” he said. “Now, they have neckties and starched shirts.”
Needless to say, many racists were not quite so happy about the statement and they took to Twitter to deliver their own version of digital hate mail.
Among the cringe-worthy tweets was one that read, “Hank Aaron is a scumbag piece of s**t n****r. My old man instilled in my mind from a young age the only n***a is a dead n***a.”
Another tweet sarcastically praised Aaron for being well-spoken during the interview.
“Hey, at least this Hank n****r is well-spoken,” the tweet read. “Give it credit.”
Another user responded to the tweet and claimed the only reason a Black man would come across as being well-spoken and educated in an interview is because the editor cleaned up his language for him.
The tweets continue to fly for about a half-hour before finally dying down.
The Twitter backlash against Aaron proved his point and gave insight into the range of people who still hold such racist points of view.
Some of the bios of the online attackers indicated that the people behind the accounts were college students, nurses and one user, who retweeted much of the verbal attack, was a teacher. He has since deleted the retweets.