Sunday, September 2, 2007

Rooney Off Base With 'Racist' Baseball Column?

Andy Rooney Off Base With 'Racist' Baseball Column?
By E&P Staff
Published: August 27, 2007

NEW YORK Andy Rooney, the writer and "60 Minutes' humorist is known for being crotchety. But a Tribune Media Services column last week has drawn the ire of some who claim it crossed the line into racism.

In explaining why he didn't really like baseball, Rooney admitted, “I know all about Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, but today’s baseball stars are all guys named Rodriguez to me....They’re apparently very good but they haven’t caught my interest.”

Latino players now make up a high proportion of big leaguers.

“Yeah, I probably shouldn’t have said it,” Mr. Rooney, 88, tells The New York Times for a story today. “It’s a name that seems common in baseball now. I certainly didn’t think of it in any derogatory sense.”

He added, “That’s what I do for a living, I write columns and have opinions, and some of them are pretty stupid.”

The Times notes: "The column drew immediate criticism in the blogosphere. One sports blog,, called Mr. Rooney a 'senile idiot,' while another,, blasted both 'the racism' and 'the wrong-ness' of what he wrote. Mary Elson, managing editor for Tribune Media Services, said Mr. Rooney’s editor did not think the comment touched Imus territory. 'We try to give our columnists a great deal of latitude. This just wasn’t considered going over the line,' she said."

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