Does Joe Torre, manager of the Yankees, treat black and white players differently? According to former Yankees outfielder Gary Sheffield, he does. In an interview that is scheduled to air Tuesday on HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumble. Sheffield makes some shocking allegations in the interview with Andrea Kremer, saying that he wasn't the only black player that had issues with Torre.
A transcript made available to Newsday, details some of the statements that Sheffield made:
"I know when I was there the couple of blacks that were there, every one of them had an issue with the organization," he says. Kremer asks him whether by "organization," he means George Steinbrenner, Brian Cashman or Joe Torre.
"They had an issue with Joe Torre," Sheffield says. "They weren't treated like everybody else. I got called out in a couple of meetings that I thought were unfair."
Kremer presses for details and he says, "He had a message to get across to the whole team, so he used me to get the message across."
And he never did that with white players? "No . . . I'd see a lot of white players get called in the office and treated like a man. That's the difference."
Kremer asked Sheffield whether he believes Torre is a racist. "No. I think it's the way they do things around there. Since I was there I just saw that they run their ship different."
Kremer points out that the Yankees' most prominent player is black. "Who?" Sheffield says. Derek Jeter. "Derek Jeter is black and white." Kremer then confirms that Jeter is half black and half white. "Exactly," Sheffield responds.
Kremer asks what the significance of that is. "There's really no significance. You just ain't all the way black," he says.
Besides talking about issues of race in the Yankees clubhouse, Sheffield also talked about his alleged use of steroids and his involvement in the BALCO case. While he admits to taking substances from BALCO, but still denies taking steroids, "In a million years, I don't care what anybody says, steroids is something you shoot in your butt. I do know that . . . The bottom line is steroids is something you stick in your butt –- period."
Although you have to question the source, the allegations that Sheffield makes are somewhat shocking. Especially considering how much players seem to respect Torre.