The newspaper The Times of London made an incredibly unfortunate choice of words in its Saturday online edition. The paper actually referred to two pitchers that come from India as “spearchuckers.”

We had written about the travails of pitchers Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel on this very blog over a month ago. The two won professional baseball contracts with the Pittsburgh Pirates after appearing on a reality tv show in India.

The exact headline used by The Times of London was, “Pittsburgh Pirates snap up Indian spearchuckers.” As of mid-Saturday morning British time the headline remained unchanged. You don’t exactly have to go to the Urban Dictionary to find the term used by The Times as offensive. The dictionary lists the definition of “spear chucker” as an “offensive” and “slang” term that refers to black people.

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  1. Jared Says:

    They threw the javelin back in India so the term was probably not ment to be offensive.

  2. Word Says:

    Furthermore, they’re not “black”…morons.

  3. Badger Says:

    Ya morans everyone know Injuns are red skinned.

  4. Carlos Says:

    It’s a shame we keep caring about racist slurs and giving them press.

  5. I. Langalibalele Says:

    Thanks. I am a black man, a Pittsburgh native, a Pirates fan and the term “spearchuckers” is tantamount to calling these new guys “niggers”. My town is one of the most racist in America. The white fans hated Roberto Clemente, The Great One, for years. They booed Barry Bonds out of town. They booed Dave Parker because he was the first Major League player to make a million dollars; fans threw batteries,coins and other debris at Park until he left. Bobby Bonilla was another star who fans hated.

    This time, the London Times beat the fans to the punch, but I guess it’s a hint of what they can expect here when they start spring training.

  6. Diceros Says:

    I’m a Pittsburgher, too. I agree that it, like any other major city, has serious race issues. But the arguments Langalibalele makes mostly have little basis in reality. I’m too young to know how the fans felt about Clemente when he played, but he’s revered now. Yet Terry Bradshaw has had the same experience, and even today more people dislike him than Clemente. As for Dave Parker, I’ve heard the stories and am too young to know otherwise.

    But Bonds and Bonilla weren’t hated because they were black (Bonilla, like Clemente, is Latino). They were despised because they were epic NLCS chokers, Bonds was/is one of the most unpleasant athlete personalities in history, and both chased the big contract the Pirates could not afford (what player who chases a big contract isn’t hated by his old team’s fans?). I’ll be happy to recite their postseason stats on the Bucs but it’s not necessary because we all remember how awful they were.

    What do Pittsburghers in general think of Mark Malone, Jaromir Jagr, Neil O’Donnell vs. Hines Ward, Casey Hampton, and any other good Steelers player? It doesn’t really matter if you’re black or white. If you stink or you leave town for a fat contract, you’re hated. If you’re good and you stick around, you’re loved. It’s not that complex.

  7. kennedy121 Says:

    What do you expect from a Murdoch rag like The Times?

  8. Jim Says:

    Clemente. Man, what a ballplayer. Fans “hated” him?

    Then, I don’t know what they were, but they sure as HELL weren’t BASEBALL fans!

    When Clemente played the game, it stayed played.

  9. I. Langalibalele Says:

    Thanks, Jim. And in fairness to Diceros, Clemente is revered. But Bradshaw is too nowadays, who did get his heap of boos, but football is another grand dragon for another day. However, I disagree with Diceros on why the fans hated those Park, Bonds, Bonilla. True, Bonds is not very personable yet that does not excuse fan behavior. C’mon, man, I might be over the top on some points. But where do fans throw batteries at their own stars! How do you play outfield under those circumstances.

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