Posted on June 23, 2023

Ron DeSantis Pushes Racist Tropes in Latest Comments About Basketball and Baseball Players

Mike Freeman, USA Today, June 22, 2023

Ron DeSantis isn’t telling the truth. He knows when he uses a racist dog whistle in speaking about basketball players − not a dog whistle actually, a bullhorn … wait, not a bullhorn, stadium speakers − that he’s being purposefully misleading. Someone who went to Harvard and Yale cannot be this dumb, so yes, he is doing something else, and it’s an attempt to appeal to the worst instincts of some of his followers. This is what I mean.

DeSantis did an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network and one of the topics was baseball. The interviewer called it a “thinking man’s game” (another dog whistle/bullhorn/stadium speaker) then asked the Florida governor and presidential hopeful his thoughts on the sport.

“So I think that there’s kind of a place for everybody on a baseball team if you’re willing to work hard, if you’re willing to practice, and if you’re willing to hone your skills,” DeSantis said. “I kind of thought it was always a very democratic game, a very meritocratic game.

“Whereas I kind of viewed like basketball as like these guys are just freaks of nature. They’re just incredible athletes. In baseball, you know, you have some guys that might not necessarily be the best athletes, but maybe they’ve got you know that slider that nobody can hit, or they have the skills that allow them to compete at the highest level.”


DeSantis was essentially talking about two leagues, and how the mostly Black one, the NBA, is full of freaky athletes with fast-twitch muscles and apparently not as democratic or meritocratic or whatever-cratic as baseball players.

Then, according to DeSantis, there’s baseball, or the MLB, the mostly white sport, full of OK athletes but gosh darn, do they work hard, and form democracies and meritocratic-ocracies-republics. They’re not freaks at all. They’re real Americans.


DeSantis is playing on an old stereotype of the Black athlete as the physical freak, who doesn’t work hard, and the white one in baseball as the steady, hard worker who gets ahead despite not having that athleticism. And also apparently forms democracies.


DeSantis knows all of this but he must play dumb for a base that likes to see Black Americans denigrated. And make no mistake, DeSantis bringing up the NBA, when not asked about it, was strategic. {snip}