Did President Biden refer to Black baseball player Satchel Paige as a 'great Negro'?

Tuesday, November 16, 2021
By Austin Tannenbaum

At the National Veterans Day Observance at Arlington National Cemetery on Nov. 11, President Biden, while recounting an anecdote about Black professional baseball player Satchel Paige, made the following remarks:

"I’ve adopted the attitude of the great Negro — at the time, pitcher in the Negro Leagues — went on to become a great pitcher in the pros — in the Major League Baseball after Jackie Robinson. His name was Satchel Paige."

It's likely Biden intended to describe Paige as a great pitcher in the Negro Leagues, but misspoke and then corrected himself. Biden is notorious for faux pas, even referring to himself as "a gaffe machine" in 2018.

The Negro Leagues were all-Black baseball teams that formed in the 1920s when the sport was still segregated. A year after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier, Paige became the first Black World Series pitcher in 1948.

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