CBS Atlanta, April 9, 2014
Baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron compared Republicans that oppose President Barack Obama to the Ku Klux Klan.
Speaking to USA Today Tuesday on the 40th anniversary of his then record-breaking 715th home run, the 80-year-old Aaron said that Republicans are hindering Obama’s job performance.
“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,” Aaron told USA Today Sports.
Aaron continued: “The bigger difference is that back then they had hoods. Now they have neckties and starched shirts.”
Aaron stated that there is still room for improvement for race relations in the U.S.
“We have moved in the right direction, and there have been improvements, but we still have a long ways to go in the country,” Aaron told USA Today Sports.
Aaron goes on to describe the racist letters he has kept for decades as he was chasing Babe Ruth’s home run record.
“To remind myself that we are not that far removed from when I was chasing the record,” Aaron explained to USA Today Sports. “If you think that, you are fooling yourself. A lot of things have happened in this country, but we have so far to go. There’s not a whole lot that has changed.”
Aaron was honored before the Braves game against the New York Mets on Tuesday night with a ceremony commemorating the 40th anniversary of his 715th home run, the one that pushed him past Babe Ruth and gave him the major league record.
Aaron, 80, was given a standing ovation in the ceremony before the game. Aaron broke Ruth’s record with his homer on April 8, 1974, off the Dodgers’ Al Downing.