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Racial Divide in the Bronx?

It seems you don't have to play for the Yankees to cause controversy in the Bronx. Days after Gary Sheffield opened his big yap with statements to Andrea Kremer of HBO sports like:

"I know when I was [with the Yankees], the couple of blacks that were there, every one of them had an issue with the organization,"...

"They weren't treated liked everybody else," said Sheffield, who currently plays for the Detroit Tigers "I got called out in a couple of meetings that I thought were unfair. ... [Torre] had a message to get across to the whole team, so he used me to get the message across."
Since then Kenny Lofton decided to get in a jab:
"All I can say is Sheffield knows what he's talking about. That's all I'm going to say."
Luckily, Daryl Strawberry stepped in on Torre's behalf.
"Joe Torre was great to me," he said yesterday. "I had a great relationship with Joe and still have that today.
I in no way believe that Joe Torre is racist and the accusers are huge headaches for whatever teams they play for. Lofton's been on 11 different teams throughout his career, and Sheffield is a cancer wherever he goes. Perhaps no one manager in baseball is as deserving of respect as Joe Torre. You may question his on the field decisions, but not his spirit, integrity and loyalty. Those who play Torre's way curries considerable favor with him, rightly or wrongly. Those who don't are often times left in the cold. It seems at least Sheffield, Lofton (and Tony Womack now, apparently) were such players.

Still, during what is his probably his last season managing New York, the tag of racism is an unfair one to dump on Torre. Perhaps the topic of race in the clubhouse is a viable one, but its genesis shouldn't be from the grumblings of two malcontents. In what is already difficult season the team focus should just be on the game of baseball. Events, and people always seem to conspire against that.