Nick Wright Credit: First Things First on FS1

Fox Sports host Nick Wright has a personal connection to the Negro Leagues as a native of Kansas City. That’s where Satchel Paige, Ernie Banks and the Monarchs played, and where the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum stands today. So while Wright saw it as a no-brainer to incorporate Negro Leagues stats into Major League Baseball history, he also believes MLB deserves major credit for going forward with the change.

In Wednesday’s episode of First Things First, Wright praised MLB for going against the grain within American society and moving toward “an honest telling of history” compared with the partial truth they embraced when leaving the Negro Leagues out of MLB lore.

“This is our American history,” Wright said. “It’s messy and it’s imperfect, and there’s no exact way to right these wrongs. But this is a step and an acknowledgment that when we talked about the best baseball players in the early 19th century, we really were just talking about the best white baseball players.”

MLB announced the move this week after more than a century of separate record books.

The Negro Leagues were home to legendary baseball players like Paige, Josh Gibson and Jackie Robinson. Seven prominent Negro Leagues operated from around 1920 until around 1950, following Robinson’s 1947 breaking of baseball’s “color barrier” that ushered in a new era in MLB.

Wright compared MLB’s choice to new rules and laws around the United States banning diversity, equity and inclusion programs and education around what some lawmakers call “critical race theory.”

“Props to Major League Baseball,” Wright said. “In a time where people are fighting desperately to whitewash our history, where legitimate efforts to improve diversity and inclusion are being torn down a the corporate level and literally outlawed at the state and collegiate level, Major League Baseball prioritized accuracy and an honest telling of history over the feelings of delicate snowflakes and pandering politicians.”

Wright also described meeting Negro Leagues legend Buck O’Neil as a kid and the impression it made on him, before congratulating O’Neil for paving the way for MLB’s decision this week.

While it’s unclear from Wright’s monologue exactly who he believes is against MLB’s choice here, it certainly is notable that MLB would do this in 2024. The social and political climate is far different now than it was in, say, 2020, when moves like this were commonplace and MLB’s Cleveland franchise began the process of changing their name, as just one example.

[First Things First on X]

About Brendon Kleen

Brendon is a Media Commentary staff writer at Awful Announcing. He has also covered basketball and sports business at Front Office Sports, SB Nation, Uproxx and more.