Major League Baseball is entitled to pay former Negro Leagues players $10,000 a year and provide medical coverage as compensation for their exclusion from the big leagues, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday, rejecting a reverse-discrimination suit from a group of white ex-players.
The programs were challenged in 2003 by Mike Colbern, a Chicago White Sox catcher in 1978-79, on behalf of a group of white retirees who had played too briefly to qualify for pre-1980 medical or pension benefits. Claiming racial discrimination, they sought equal benefits for themselves.
Upholding a federal judge’s dismissal of the suit, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said baseball had legitimate reasons to limit the program to those who had been barred because of their race.
The white players “were never the victims of discrimination” and instead were “beneficiaries of the discriminatory policy,” which gave them an opportunity to qualify for pension and medical benefits that was unavailable to black players, Judge Stephen Reinhardt said in the 3-0 ruling.
“To the extent that MLB sought to remedy in part its past discriminatory conduct, it acted honorably and decently,” Reinhardt said.
LJ Commenter daveanthony offers an even more apropos version of the second-to-last paragraph:
White Americans “were never the victims of discrimination” and instead were “beneficiaries of the discriminatory policy,” which gave them an opportunity to qualify for jobs, schools, careers, politics, government, baseball home run records (ahemBabe didn’t have to play against Blacks), titles such as “‘King’ of Rock and Roll,” etc etc ad nauseum that was unavailable to black Americans.
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