This week, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) was accused of racism by some left-wing media outlets and a national sports columnist for his comments about basketball players. However, his supporters deemed these accusations as absurd.
During a recent interview discussing his love for baseball, DeSantis praised the sport as a “meritocratic” game that allows individuals of different sizes and skill levels to excel in various positions. He contrasted it with basketball.
Speaking to CBN, DeSantis said, “I think that there’s kind of a place for everybody in a baseball team if you’re willing to work hard, if you’re willing to practice.”
He shared his thoughts that baseball is a “very democratic game, a very meritocratic game.”
DeSantis then pivoted to his views on basketball; he expressed his beliefs that “basketball as like ‘these guys are just freaks of nature,'” adding that, “They’re just incredible athletes.”
He contrasted that with baseball, which may not “have some guys that might not necessarily be the best athletes” but could have a “slider that nobody can hit,” or had skills that would “allow them to compete at the highest level.”
DeSantis’ comments, who was a baseball player at Yale, gained widespread attention and sparked controversy among liberal media. Many viewed his words as a racist dog whistle directed towards the NBA and its mostly Black players.
In a recent column for USA Today, Mike Freeman accused DeSantis of amplifying “racist tropes” and trying to appeal to the base instincts of his supporters. Specifically, Freeman believed that DeSantis suggested that Black basketball players were not hardworking.
Freeman suggested the Republican presidential hopeful is “one of the most prominent anti-Black politicians alive.”
A Sports Illustrated site aggregating Freeman’s column declared that DeSantis had been “crushed” for his comments.
The Root, a left-wing site, focused on DeSantis’s “freaks of nature” statement, describing it as a “disgustingly racist trope.”
The reporter who wrote the piece for The Root, Candace McDuffie, suggested: “the GOP has relished in being the party of white supremacy, so the Florida governor’s latest remarks check out.”
However, many conservatives believed the uproar was a reach at best, noting that the average NBA player height is nearly 6 feet-7 inches tall, almost a foot taller than the typical American man.
According to The Baseball Cube, Major League Baseball players have an average height of 6-feet-1-inch tall.