A Heated Debate

This is a partial transcript from Hannity & Colmes, July, 8 2003  that has been edited for clarity. Click here to order a transcript of the entire show.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST:  The manager of the Chicago Cubs, Dusty Baker (search), is refusing to apologize for statements he made about minority baseball players. Last weekend he suggested that blacks and Latinos are better suited to play in the heat than whites.


DUSTY BAKER, CHICAGO CUBS MANAGER: Personally, I like to play in the heat, you know? It's easier for me. I mean, it's easier for most black guys; it's easier for most minority people. Most of us come from heat, you know. You don't find too many brothers out there in Maine and the upper peninsula of Michigan, right? I mean, you know, we were brought over here for the heat, right? I mean, isn't that history? Weren't we brought over here because we could take the heat?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was a long time ago, though.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You might have become acclimated to a different climate.

BAKER: Well, with our skin color we're just more conducive to the heat than it is to the lighter skin people in the heat.


COLMES: Today he responded to those who charged him with racism (search).


BAKER: If I want to talk about African-Americans and black people, that's my prerogative. I can say stuff and call somebody of my color stuff that you all can't call them. And then you guys can call people, whether Jewish or Polish or … I've heard Italian people call Italian people stuff that I can't say.

What sounds to me is a lot of people don't know history to me. That's what it sounds like to me. And if they take it as reverse racism or take it this and that, then they can take it however they want to take it. I stand by what I said. And I mean what I say.


SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST:  So if a black man makes generalizations about his own people, is he a racist?

Joining us from Cincinnati, the author of Taboo: Why Black Athletes Dominate Sports and Why We're Afraid to Talk About It, Jon Entine.

John, welcome back. Good to see you again.

The bottom line here is if you're a member of a minority group and you make a comment about that group, you'll be given latitude that you would not get if you were a member of what's considered a majority group. Isn't that basically what goes on?

JON ENTINE, "TABOO" AUTHOR: That's absolutely true. I mean, we all have seen this happen time and again. Back when Jimmy the Greek Snyder made comments about blacks being bred to make better athletes. He was a prognosticator on CBS Sports.

COLMES: Right.

ENTINE: He was fired a couple of days later. But things that he had said were said by many black athletes before that and not a peep was heard in the media. But when a white person said it, obviously, an explosion hit and suddenly you had racism.

COLMES: Also the presumption that somebody says something they're racist. You don't know what's in his heart. I doubt that Dusty Baker is racist. We could debate whether what he said is accurate or not, but should we look at what's in his heart and what he's really intending to portray here?

ENTINE: Well, I don't think there's the issue of what's in his heart or the issue or what he's trying to say.

The fact is that what he said is an observation and it might have racial overtones but is not racist at all. And clearly, he didn't have any racial animosity in his heart.

But to suggest that someone who makes observations about racial differences is by definition a racist, because that's really the way this is being portrayed, is not only silly, it's heinous and in some ways, it's un-American, frankly.

COLMES: I thought I'd mention some facts about Dusty Baker. Interesting, if you know about him, you know his mother taught African- American history at a school in Sacramento. He himself has been the victim of discrimination. He couldn't get an apartment in a certain neighborhood he wanted in South Carolina when he played in the minors.

So, you know, to have this knee jerk reaction and accuse him of racism because of the comment he made is silly.

ENTINE: Yes, it's silly. I think it's a reflection of the after- echoes of the John Rocker situation, where he made some inflammatory comments, and even the distant echoes of Jimmy "The Greek" Snyder.

And I think people have to say, "Oh, we have to treat a black making such a statement the same way we would treat a white."

But the fact is, one, it's not equivalent to the Rocker statement. I think the Jimmy the Greek parallels are much more real. But Jimmy the Greek was pilloried for saying something that was fairly innocuous. I don't think it was scientifically accurate, but it was the furthest thing from being racist and this is equally as absurd.

HANNITY: The suggestion that the Greek was racist because of what he said is silly. The fact is, though, had a white person said what Baker said, he or she would pilloried?

ENTINE: Yes, absolutely. There's no question about that.

And again, if somebody wasn't Jewish made some comments about someone who is Jewish, you 'd see a reaction that wouldn't come if a Jewish comic, let's say, made the some comments. It would be passed off as acceptable.

And Dusty Baker, you know, in the clip that you played, said that: "I'm black, I can make this statement."

COLMES: I thought it was good that he stuck to his guns and didn't backtrack or feel like he had to, you know, make up ground. He said that's what I meant and I think that does him a service that he had that reaction.

ENTINE: Absolutely. In fact, what he said was not only not silly and not racist, it was scientifically plausible. Now we're dealing with that part of the issue.

HANNITY: We've got a lot of issues to deal with here.

No. 1, is what he said racist? I'm going to get to that in a second.

No. 2, should he be fired or should there be some type of punishment for what he said?

And a very important question in all of this, is there a double standard? Let's say, I had a call into my radio show earlier today. He said, Sean, if a hockey coach said that of there were white players, insinuated that they're more suited to play in the cold and the ice, what would be the ramifications today? What would happen today? Isn't it very likely that that cocky coach would have been fired by now, Jon, isn't that true?

ENTINE: Well, it's possible.

HANNITY: Possible? It's the reality.

ENTINE: Yes. No, it is. It's a sad commentary on the way these issues are discussed. The fact is, again, let's go back to the facts of this situation. What he said was is that… put aside the Hispanics, it's a little more complicated … but people of African ancestry evolved in a...

HANNITY: I don't want even want to get into that … the whole point of your book and your Taboo: Why Black Athletes Dominate and Why We Won't Talk About It and stuff …but I'm asking a question here of whether or not there's a double standard. And I think this is...

ENTINE: Absolutely.


ENTINE: There is a double standard.

HANNITY: It's a huge double standard, isn't there?

ENTINE: Huge double standard. Absolutely. No question.

HANNITY: Because I'm of two minds of this. I think what he said is dumb. I think it's stupid. I think it's ignorant. I think this idea that minorities and Latinos are better suited to play in the heat than white athletes is an absurd statement on the surface of it.

I don't care that his mother taught history. It means nothing me that he may have faced discrimination, although I find that reprehensible. It's not the point. It's what he said is silly.

Now I'm of two minds to this. I don't want the guy to be fired, because I think the P.C. police go too far. But I think he should apologize for what he said. It's not acceptable for anyone else to say this.

ENTINE: Well, you've totally gone down a wrong avenue. First of all, to suggest that what he said is silly or absurd is silly and absurd on your part. What he said was perfectly reasonable and plausible scientifically.

HANNITY: No, it's not. No, it's not.

ENTINE: You're wrong.

HANNITY: Give me a …Wait a minute, we have plenty of talented baseball players that happen to be white that don't seem to be struggling with the heat or at a disadvantage because they're white. And I don't think anybody… and if there is any difference, if there is and your little theory is true...

ENTINE: Not that it's true. It's acceptable...

HANNITY: ... it would be so insignificant that it wouldn't be measurable. These are great athletic men, white, black and Hispanic, that play baseball.

ENTINE: Yes. Look, there's great individuals. There's tall women, but it doesn't mean that women are taller than men. There's always exceptions from the rule. But generally speaking, blacks have longer limbs relative to their body that have makes them able to dissipate heat more.

HANNITY: What does that have to do with playing in the heat? What does that have to do with anything?

ENTINE: Well, it has to do with anything. Why do you think Eskimos are small and...

HANNITY: Give me an example. How are minorities better suited to play in the heat? That's what he said. It's an absurd statement and you all know better also.

ENTINE: Well, the fact is that what you're saying is absurd. But I'm not going to debate the science, which you're not familiar with, so...

HANNITY: Your science is a silly science, John. It's absolutely idiocy. They're great athletes of all races. And there's no scientific evidence that shows minorities are better to play in the heat than white people. It's absurd.

ENTINE: OK, you want to say that, you're welcome to say that. But the reality is regardless of that, he shouldn't have to apologize for an observation he made, just like you don't have to apologize for your opinions.

COLMES: We've got to go. Thanks for being with us.

Click here to order the entire transcript of the show.

Copy: Content and Programming Copyright 2003 Fox News Network, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2003 eMediaMillWorks, Inc. (f/k/a Federal Document Clearing House, Inc.), which takes sole responsibility for the accuracy of the transcription. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material except for the user's personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon Fox News Network, Inc.'s and eMediaMillWorks, Inc.'s copyrights or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.