You certainly couldn’t mean to suggest that Negro athletes play baseball on the same field and at the same time as whites?
Look -- even professional teams can’t afford two sets of showers, and you have to admit that you can’t expect any decent white athlete to shower with Negroes.
That‘s what they were saying less than sixty years ago, when word came that Branch Rickey was thinking about signing Jackie Robinson to a major league contract.
And they were saying a version of exactly the same thing this week in federal appeals court in Cincinnati, where Maureen Mahoney the attorney for the Michigan High School Athletic Association made an utterly contemptible argument. She said that Michigan high schools couldn’t possibly allow girls to play basketball in the winter.
Why? Because the boys play then, and, to quote Maureen Mahoney exactly, “most schools in Michigan have only one gym.“ Huh? In a sense, Mahoney’s argument is even more ridiculous than that of the Jim Crow racists.
If you accepted the idiotic proposition that the races had to be kept separate, you could justify giving whites preference, since they outnumber blacks by more than four to one.
But there are more women then men! There are physical differences between boys and girls, and it wouldn’t make sense to have them on the same team. But if somebody has to play at an inconvenient time, why not the minority?
I know --that’s not the way the world works, baby. Well, it is about time it did. Incidentally, most states don’t ghettoize the girls; Michigan is one of only two states where women don’t play basketball in winter. The other is Hawaii.
The case now before the federal courts has been going on ever since 1998. The courts -- including this same three-judge panel of the federal appeals court -- have ruled against the reactionaries of the MHSAA before. In fact, across the nation the trend has been to parallel seasons for women’s and men’s teams.
But for technical reasons, the U.S. Supreme Court told the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati to reconsider the case.
So here’s how I think they should reconsider it. They should give Michigan high schools a choice. They can either join the modern world and have parallel seasons.
But if they don‘t want to do that, let the girls play basketball in the winter -- and make the boys play in the spring.
Course, there wouldn’t be that many teams to play against, especially after the more enlightened schools realized that it made far more sense to have both seasons going on at the same time. But not to worry. If worse comes to worse and some of our schools have to make kids play basketball in the spring, we can always send them off to road games in Hawaii.