On Friday, Nov. 11, as President Joe Biden delivered his Veterans Day speech at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, he made a controversial remark that has now gone viral on social media.
During his speech, while referring to Major League Baseball player Satchel Paige, the president called the legendary pitcher "the great negro at the time."
Paige was a Black pitcher in baseball's Negro Leagues - a baseball tournament that Black players formed when they were shut out of Major League Baseball -before he broke into the MLB late into his career. He is considered by many to be one of the greatest to ever play his position.
Biden's remarks were made after acknowledging the birthday of 95-year-old Donald Blinken, an ex-U.S. ambassador and father of Secretary of State Antony Blinken. In the speech, Biden was wishing Blinken a happy birthday, when he segued into telling a story about Paige. Biden was recounting a quote made by the baseball legend about being 47 years old.
"And I just want to tell you, I know you're a little younger than I am, but, you know, I've adopted the attitude of the great Negro â at the time, pitcher in the Negro Leagues â went on to become a great pitcher in the pros â in the Major League Baseball after Jackie Robinson. His name was Satchel Paige," Biden said during the speech, according to the White House transcript. Watch the video below:
Biden's fractured anecdote appeared to be aimed at conveying to Blinken that he was only as old as he felt. However, the incident sparked a debate on social media about whether he referred to the baseball legend as "the great negro" or had simply misspoken.
Former President Donald Trump's son Eric Trump was among those who quickly took to Twitter to express his shock over Biden's statement, tweeting, "Did Biden just say what I think he said?!"
Another commented, "On Veterans Day Joe Biden tells a story about pitcher Satchel Paige, refers him as "the great negro at the time." Imagine if Trump did this? Where is the media?"
Some argued that there was nothing wrong with Biden's comment and he was only referring to the "Negro Leagues," which Paige played in at the time.
However, others argued that the term was offensive, regardless of the context.