Is it Racist?


The Detroit Tigers opened up a 4 game series against AL Central rival Minnesota on Thursday night.  The Tigers’ starting 9 was this: Austin Jackson (CF), Brennan Boesch (LF), Magglio Ordonez (RF), Miguel Cabrera (1B), Victor Martinez (DH), Jhonny Peralta (SS), Carlos Guillen (2B), Alex Avila (C), and Wilson Betemit (3B).

You may have noticed that all of those names outside of Jackson and Boesch have a Latin-American sound to them.  Ordonez, Cabrera, Martinez, and Guillen are all from Venezuela.  Peralta and Betemit are both from the Dominican Republic.  Avila is from Florida, but still has the Latin-American last name.  Well you may not have noticed, but Tigers’ television broadcaster Rod Allen sure did.  In fact, in looking at the lineup Rod said,

“we better have some rice and beans in the post-game spread.”

Now, this may just be a harmless statement, but it seems to me with all the criticism there is against racism in broadcasting these days, that Rod’s statement will not go entirely unnoticed.  Rod does a great job in the booth for the Tigers, popularizing such phrases as “I see ya big fella,” and making use of the word “piece” when describing a pitcher’s pitch (i.e. change-piece, slide-piece, etc.).  Should Rod be fired for this?  No.  But when Steve Lyons was fired by FOX for saying on television that he couldn’t find his wallet after Lou Piniella used a Spanish phrase during game 3 of the 2006 ALCS, it set a precedent.  Rod was not on national TV, but what he said still may have offended some people.

Anyway, here’s to Rod Allen, and here’s to hoping that his joke doesn’t get taken too seriously and put an American treasure out of a job.

Don’t forget to listen to Kyle Madson on the KSSU Sport’s Block Every Tuesday from 6-10pm PST only on KSSU.com. Follow him on twitter @madsports8

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12 responses to “Is it Racist?

  1. It was an innocent comment. People are way to sensitive about this kind of thing. Dumb if anything comes of it.

    • For the record: I didn’t find the comments racist at all. I love Rod Allen and thought his comment was fantastic. I was making the point that what he said was the exact type of thing that people would get all sensitive over and make a big deal out of.

      I apologize for the confusion that I’m here all offended by Rod’s comments because I certainly wasn’t. I’m just saying that with all the criticsm there is for silly things these days this is something he may find himself in hot water for.

  2. No it’s not racist. Quit being so sensitive. We’re talking about food. FOOD! If I played on a polish-dominated team, I wouldn’t care if the broadcaster said they need to have the pierogi’s and kielbasa in the post game spread, I wouldn’t be offended.

    And FYI, the Tigers playing a 4 game series in Minnesota. Maybe if you followed baseball, you would know that baseball series’ don’t end on Saturdays

    • I do follow baseball, and being that I’m an A’s fan (*pauses to sob*) I wasn’t thinking about days, but knew Detroit had 7 coming up against Minnesota and Chicago and had it in my head that it was going to be Chicago for 4. Should Detroit be playing in October I will be rooting for them.

      Thank you for pointing out the error and I will fix it.

  3. Yeah I am pretty sure I have heard Rod talk on-air about how certain Laitn players actually do like, and prefer rice and beans before or after the game. The Tigers have an annual Latin Night at Comerica; I think it was the “Latin Night” telecast last year or the year before that Rod said this, if someone was also watching and can back me up.

    So is it still racist if it is coming from to Rod from a primary source?

  4. While I was not offended by what he said, Rod Allen needs to be fired since he is a horrible commentator.

  5. Jose Valverde has told Rod before that he eats rice and beans every day, that’s what you’re referring to from last year’s broadcast

  6. This blatant ! If a white announcer said something like this, I truly believe Rod Allen would be calling for his job ! Let’s get Rod Allen’s comment to my comment, there’s no way he would come on here or anywhere else and say, ” White guy said that … thumbs up, he’s good to go ! “

  7. So it would be just as bad if an he said “we need spaghetti and meatballs on the postgame spread” if they were Italian?

  8. 1. I think free speech applies to this situation, so he can be as racist as he wants to be as long as he isn’t organizing a hate organization targeting a specific ethnic group. Likewise, anyone else has the right to be as offended as they think they ought to be.

    2. Although, I do still think it is slightly racist, not enough to get totally offended by, but the fact of the matter is that he directly implied that their ethnic last names meant they only eat rice and beans, thus having the effect of ignoring the fact that they may eat burgers and steak just like any other American. To exemplify the difference of ethnic cultural titles, if Rod Allen had mentioned sushi to me, I would be offended because A. while I am Asian and do enjoy sushi, I’m not Japanese, B. why did he not say fries instead, since my dominant culture resonates within the Canadian and American spheres, as opposed to “Asian” spheres? C. why is he making any assumptions about me anyway, just because my last name looks “Asian”? [I put Asian in quotations because it is a Western creation that puts a blanket over the multitudes of vastly different people, including Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Sri Lankan, Indian, Filipino, Hmong, etc.]

    3. And I may be extrapolating as much as he was, but rice and beans in this context relates to the negative connotation of poverty among latino populations, therefore reinforcing and perpetuating the stereotype of the “poor Mexican.”

    • Preface: I think Rod Allen’s comments are evidence of a lapse in judgment at best, and a lack of cultural sensitivity at worst. But I’m not surprised. TV sports commentators are not the front line in the social justice movement.

      “he directly implied that their ethnic last names meant they only eat rice and beans”

      Only if you equate the statement ‘Players X/Y/Z, based on their last names, likely enjoy Food A’ with ‘Players X/Y/Z, based on their last names, exclusively enjoy Food A’. Allen’s comments do not exclude the possibility of the players enjoying other foods. This is coming from somebody who agrees with you that the comments reveal Allen’s ignorance.

      “they may eat burgers and steak just like any other American”

      ANY other American? So vegetarians and vegans are not American to you? Or persons whose religious beliefs prohibit the consumption of beef? I am an American and I do not eat burgers or steak. I honestly don’t appreciate being marginalized in a post heralding social justice.

      “I may be extrapolating as much as he was, but rice and beans in this context relates to the negative connotation of poverty…”

      Yes, you are extrapolating as much as he was, and it’s damaging to your argument.

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