Reggie on Billy: Racial slurs and anti-Semitic words bothered me

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The Associated Press

Reggie Jackson said he heard manager Billy Martin use racial and anti-Semitic remarks then, and felt it was time to talk about them now.

“You need to set the record straight,” the former Yankees and Angels Hall of Fame slugger told The Associated Press on Friday. “They’re the truth.”

The late Martin managed the New York Yankees in the late 1970s, a fiery time that included a pair of World Series championships in ’77 and ’78 against the Dodgers. Jackson spoke about Martin in an interview with the MLB Network that will be shown Monday night.

“I did not accept the way he managed me. I did not accept the way he managed (Jewish pitcher) Ken Holtzman. I thought there was anti-Semitism there,” Jackson said in the MLB Network interview with Bob Costas.

“I couldn’t accept the racial epithets in reference to players like (black players) Elliott Maddox or Billy Sample. There are players that played for him that would tell you that.”

Jackson told the AP that “sometimes it’s uncomfortable, but it’s real and you can’t ignore it. … There’s a certain time that when somebody asks you a question, you answer them. I don’t think I said anything with venom. If you can express yourself without anger and make it as palatable as you can, that’s what you do.”

Jackson was asked how often Martin used such language.

“Sometimes,” he said. “It wasn’t all the time.”

The relationship between Jackson and Martin was tumultuous, played out against a backdrop of what became known as “The Bronx Zoo.”

“He was a guy I never got to know really well. Obviously, we didn’t see eye to eye,” Jackson said.

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