Tribune Retracts Sports Column Alleging A's Racism

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Last Monday, Oakland Tribune sports columnist Dave Del Grande used half of his weekly column, "A's Whitewashed by Beane, Mets," to blast Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane for pink-slipping African-American player Milton Bradley because of his race. "Let me get this straight: The A's basically cut a supremely talented black outfielder because they have a dime-a-dozen white guy who complains less about being a backup," he wrote. After defending Bradley's spot on the roster, Del Grande concluded, "This wasn't even a financial decision. This was a matter of Bradley being ... well, black." On Wednesday, the Trib published a letter from Beane, along with an editor's note announcing that the original column had been removed from the newspaper's Web site. Beane, palpably furious, wrote, "to express my personal disappointment and hurt over such an egregiously irresponsible column that slanders my name, questions my morals and attacks the integrity of the A's organization, its ownership and staff that has been a longtime member of the East Bay community." Beane defended his decision as not racially motivated, and characterized Del Grande's comments as "beyond offensive and, of course, unsubstantiated and without a merit of truth."

Oops.

In yesterday's column, Del Grande begged for forgiveness. In response to "the near-unanimous tone of the feedback this newspaper received to last week's column," the columnist admitted his mistakes. "I learned long ago the first two rules of journalism are 1) Be accurate; and 2) Be fair. Unfortunately, I was neither ... and for that I'd like to apologize to Billy Beane, the A's organization and everyone I offended in my inaccurate assessment of the Milton Bradley situation," Del Grande wrote. He also promised he would "live up to those standards from this day forward."

(While the Tribune has removed the original column from its Web site, a cached version of the page can be accessed through Google.)

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