Originally written on Larry Brown Sports  |  Last updated 11/1/14

Jackie Robinson Day in Major League Baseball is mostly a day of celebration. All players wear jersey No. 42 in honor of the first player to break MLB’s color barrier. Some guys do even more as a tribute. But inevitably, one issue that comes up each year is the declining number of African-American players in the game.

Cubs outfielder Marlon Byrd, who comprises part of the 8% of black players in MLB, is sick of the negative focus.

“If you want to take polls, then take polls asking how many black lawyers do we have now, or how many black judges or black doctors there are now,” Byrd said Sunday, according to the Chicago Tribune. “Just because we’re black doesn’t mean we have to play sports. You can go through other avenues. If the decrease (in baseball) is because they’re going into academic fields, so be it. More power to them.”

Byrd may have been partially bothered by a recent newspaper article that focused on the lack of black players on the two Chicago baseball teams that used the headline “Black Hole,” but he makes a fair point. Should the day be about celebrating Robinson and what he did, or focusing on the decline of African-Americans in the game? What about celebrating the way the game has gone global to include the best players around the world?

Byrd told USA Today he hopes there will be more black players in the next 5-6 years. MLB is confident the situation will improve thanks to their efforts with urban academies and the annual Civil Rights Game.

Regarding Byrd’s point that he hopes the decline is because more black males are going into academic rather than athletic fields, I think the issue may be that many talented black athletes choose sports other than baseball. MLB instituting new draft policies that cap the amount of money teams can spend on draft picks isn’t helping baseball’s efforts to sway players away from other sports.

Photo Credit: Charles LeClaire-USPRESSWIRE

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Tim Tebow agrees to terms with Eagles

Report: Tyreke Evans a game-time decision for Game 2

Phillies GM: Asking price for Cole Hamels has not dropped

Could Ohio State really use all three quarterbacks?

Report: Florida CB arrested following armed robbery

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Celtics looking to make LeBron's life difficult in playoff series

WATCH: Luke Rockhold chokes out Lyoto Machida

WATCH: Masai Ujiri fires up Raptors fans with expletive

Andre Johnson: Signing with Colts not about revenge

Pete Rose joining FOX as baseball analyst

Josh Hamilton filed for divorce around time of relapse

WATCH: Royals-A's game filled with more ejections

WATCH: David Ortiz ejected for arguing over check swing

WATCH: The trailer for the new Allen Iverson documentary

WATCH: Jon Lester flips glove to first for out

Scout compares Mookie Betts to Deion Sanders

WATCH: Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. tells his corner to stop fight

Mets pitcher Alex Torres wears massive protective hat

Report: Todd Gurley's knee checks out well in evaluation

WATCH: All 286 3-pointers Steph Curry made this season

WATCH: Devan Dubnyk makes great save while leaving net

Sabres GM not happy about losing draft lottery

Yordano Ventura ejected for plunking Brett Lawrie

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Royals-A's game gets heated again

Report: Tim Tebow signing with Eagles

David Ortiz ejected, throws tantrum

WATCH: Allen Iverson's documentary trailer

Alex Torres wears protective hat

Josh Hamilton filed for divorce from wife

Report: McHenry's coworkers want her fired

WATCH: Raptors fans taunt Paul Pierce

Five things to watch in NBA Playoffs

Jarret Stoll busted for drugs

CJ Wilson: Hamilton is 'ready to go'

Leaked Clippers jersey redesigns

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.