Hammerin' Hank receives slew of racist hate mail, again

After Hank Aaron spoke his mind about the progress of race relations over the last 40 years, many sent the Atlanta Braves racially-charged letters of disapproval.

Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth's home run record in 1974. He's still receiving hate mail.

Tuesday was Jackie Robinson Day, and all around the league teams and players paid tribute to the man who broke the color barrier exactly 67 years ago.

What is typically a day of celebration and remembrance, however, has been marred by four game postponements and the fact that even today, people are sending racist hate mail to Hank Aaron, an African-American baseball player who broke Babe Ruth’s home run record in 1974.

On Tuesday, it was revealed by Bob Nightengale at USA TODAY that “vile letters … have poured into the Atlanta Braves offices over the past week.”

Letters similar to one emailed to the Braves front office by a man who calls himself Edward -- in which "scumbag" was the nicest word used when referring to Aaron.

This isn’t the first time the (*former) Home Run King has been the target of racist hate mail. Famously, Aaron received a slew of racially charged letters 40 years ago after breaking Ruth’s record. And unfortunately, it probably won’t be the last time.

This new wave of vitriol flows in as a reaction to Aaron’s comments to USA TODAY Sports about why he still keeps hate mail he received from back then.

Aaron spoke candidly:

"To remind myself that we are not that far removed from when I was chasing the record," he said. "If you think that, you are fooling yourself. A lot of things have happened in this country, but we have so far to go. There's not a whole lot that has changed.

"We can talk about baseball. Talk about politics. Sure, this country has a black president, but when you look at a black president, President Obama is left with his foot stuck in the mud from all of the Republicans with the way he's treated. We have moved in the right direction, and there have been improvements, but we still have a long ways to go.

"The bigger difference is back then they had hoods. Now they have neckties and starched shirts."

This recent influx of mail seems to only confirm Aaron’s sentiment that we really aren’t that far removed from ’74. Let’s hold out hope though that the majority of the world will continue to accept and encourage those previously unaccepted, and at some point, the “Edwards” of the world will simply fall by the wayside.

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