Well... Surprised this took as long as it did. The Rev Jesse Jackson has weighed in on the recent headlining controversial questions that investigators have asked neighbors of 3 current major league umpires.
"Major League Baseball has done a disservice to its progressive social history by equating southern whites with white supremacists," Jackson said in a statement. "I am surprised the professional league which helped change social attitudes in all sports leagues about segregation, by championing Jackie Robinson, would make such a destructive move."
The umpires who's neighbors were asked were:
Gibson and Holbrook reside in Kentucky. Kulpa is from St. Louis.
Here is a little something on each ump (via mlb.com)
Gregory Allan Gibson...born on October 2, 1968 in Ironton, OH...resides in Kentucky...married Michelle (10/7/95)...has three children: Kyle, Cameron and Carter...attended the University of Kentucky and Shawnee State University...proudest moment as an umpire was working the plate in Cincinnati for the first time in 1997.
Samuel W. Holbrook...born on July 7, 1965 in Morehead, KY...married Susie (9/26/92)...has two children, Adam and Amy...received a BS and MS from Eastern Kentucky University...does charitable work for Fellowship of Christian Athletes...played baseball for four years in college...enjoys fishing, hunting, golf, and spending time with his family...favorite movies include Goodfellas, The Godfather and The Hunt for Red October...most admires his parents for the job they did raising their family.
Ronald Clarence Kulpa…born on October 5, 1968 in St. Louis, MO...resides in Missouri...married Sherri (11/13/93)…has one child: Tanner (10/16/95)…grad u at ed from Hazelwood Central High School in 1987…at tend ed Florissant Valley Community College (1989) and Missouri Baptist College (1990-92)…played baseball in college and then enrolled in umpire school…enjoys golf, bowling, hockey and riding his Harley-Davidson.
Major League Baseball needs to be very careful with how they proceed. With all the bad publicity America's past time has received due to the steroid scandal, the last thing they need is another story to damage their repuation even more.
I guess if you're living next door to a current major league umpire - Be prepared for questions like: Does he grow marijuana plants? Does he beat his wife? Have you seen the police at his home? Does he throw wild parties?
Wow! I could answer yes to each one of those questions for my neighbor, good thing he moved out.
A couple interesting notes... Greg Gibson was the home plate umpire during Randy Johnson's perfect game in 2004, and Ron Kulpa was the umpire in Justin Verlander's no-hitter in 2007, and also during Curt Schilling's one hitter 5 days earlier when Shannon Stewart broke up the no-no with 2 outs in the 9th.
Imagine how popular this story would be right now if the officials being questioned were NBA officials?
Editors Note: The ump in the picture(John Hirschbeck) who just so happens to be the World Umpire Association president, has not been accused... yet.