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: Shaka Smart in discussions with Texas

Report: Rick Barnes expected to land at Tennessee

Demaryius Thomas planning to skip Broncos' workouts

Rockets GM: We think we can win NBA title despite injuries

Browns GM Ray Farmer suspended over text messages

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Aaron Hernandez's fiancee disposed of box after murder

Byron Scott: Opposing players say they want to play for Lakers

Falcons reportedly will lose pick over pumping in crowd noise

Report: Sam Bradford wouldn't sign extension with Browns

Jimbo Fisher: Winston is victim of ‘character assassination’

Russell Wilson on contract: 'It's going to work out'

PHOTO: Minor league team to wear Jabba the Hutt jerseys

Lions LB DeAndre Levy takes ride on top of a moving plane

Colts owner addresses Indiana religious freedom bill

John Calipari addresses controversial ND comments

Arizona coach Sean Miller rips critics: 'Go cheer for ASU'

Report: NFL could push extra point back to 15-yard line

Urban Meyer: 'No issue' with Braxton Miller's Instagram post

Tiger Woods drops out of top 100 for first time in 19 years

Top 10 stories from NCAA Tourney's second weekend

The MLBPA has a problem

Final Four preview: How can every team win?

WrestleMania 31 results: Rollins cashes in, Rousey appears

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

Report: Shaka Smart talking to Texas

Rick Barnes to land at Tennessee?

Browns GM suspended for texts

Hernandez's fiancee disposed of box

Mayweather-Pacquiao: It's sparring tall-tale season

The MLBPA has a problem

Final Four preview: Can every team win?

Full WrestleMania 31 recap and results

Why Texas had to fire Rick Barnes

Craig Sager's leukemia has returned

Report: Chris Mullin to take St. John's job

Report: NFL looking into more cameras

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.