ROSEMONT, ILL., JUNE 29 -- Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson today said he is satisfied with efforts by baseball to increase minority hirings and called off a threatened July 4 boycott of major league games.
"There will not be a boycott, in part because the process is in motion," Jackson said at a meeting of Operation PUSH, the volunteer self-help organization he founded. Among those in attendance were former baseball greats Hank Aaron and Curt Flood, as well as former NFL players Mel Blount and Drew Pearson.
He also said he will urge colleges to follow suit and bring more minorities into athletic departments nationwide. "We will go university by university to bring about this change," said Jackson, an unofficial Democratic presidential candidate.
Jackson said several encouraging developments have materialized since he threatened the boycott last month. He cited the recent appointments of former players Garry Maddox by the Philadelphia Phillies and John Roseboro by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
However, Jackson criticized some teams for failing to dismiss managers in order to hire minorities "because they would have to make this big public judgment under the scope of scrutiny."
The only manager fired this season was Philadelphia's John Felske, who was replaced by another white, coach Lee Elia.
"It's clear that some teams have held back on firing managers and coaches who have not done well," Jackson said. "I say to those owners, 'Just be fair, and the quality of the game will improve.' We must open up the game at every level. We must open the all-American game to the all-American people."