Jesse Jackson Outraged on Umps' Behalf
League probe asked if umpires are KKK members, wife-beaters
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 1, 2008 7:11 AM CST
Tim Donaghy's betting scandal inspired the MLB to step up its background checks on umpires. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari, file)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Major League Baseball's umpires are fighting mad, and Jesse Jackson is behind them 100%, after reports surfaced that league officials have been asking umps' neighbors questions about marijuana use, domestic violence, and potential membership in the Ku Klux Klan. "They have essentially defamed their people in their own neighborhoods," Jackson told the AP.

Baseball executive dismissed the claims of inappropriate questions as "inaccurate," but  World Umpires Association president John Hirschbeck said that questions mentioning the KKK have been asked of neighbors in at least three cases. This invasive approach is "baseball's favorite way of doing things: Ready, fire, aim," Hirschbeck complained.