Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is once again in the national spotlight for allegedly blowing a racist dog whistle.
In a recent interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, DeSantis was asked about his love of baseball. He was captain of Yale University’s baseball team and played in the Little League World Series.
In his response, DeSantis praised baseball as a “meritocratic” game in which players compensate for their lack of athleticism by working hard. He then contrasted that with basketball players who he said are “incredible athletes” and “freaks of nature.”
“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. I kind of thought it was always a very democratic game, a very meritocratic game," DeSantis told CBN.
"Whereas I kind of viewed 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."
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“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,” Freeman wrote.
Conservatives defended DeSantis’ comment as innocuous, arguing that liberals found racism where none was intended. The Washington Examiner’s Conn Carroll wrote that the left is outraged because DeSantis was “simply noting that basketball players are generally better athletes than baseball players” and that basketball players are indeed freaks because of their height.
DeSantis, a former three-term congressman, is no stranger to this kind of controversy. He stepped into the national spotlight during his 2018 gubernatorial race against Andrew Gillum, the former Tallahassee mayor and Florida’s first major party Black candidate for governor.
It didn’t take long after Gillum won the Democratic nomination for DeSantis, who at the time was the Trump-backed GOP nominee, to stir controversy when he allegedly blew a racist dog whistle, using the racist epithet “monkey,” during a Fox News interview.
“The last thing we need to do is to monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda with huge tax increases and bankrupting the state,” DeSantis said of Gillum, The New York Times reported.
As governor, DeSantis’ policies paint a picture of his legislative priorities. He signed a bill into law on May 15 that defunds programs that promote diversity in public higher education, banned Advanced Placement African American Studies in high school, and championed his so-called
Stop W.O.K.E. Act – the acronym standing for "Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees" – that restricts how race is discussed in state schools, including universities, and in private companies.
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