WASHINGTON (AP) - The Washington Nationals' director of player development has clarified remarks in which he compared No. 1 draft pick Bryce Harper to Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson.
"My sole intent was to speak to the scrutiny that Harper faces on a daily basis," Doug Harris said in a statement Tuesday. "The hardships that Mr. Robinson endured in/around 1947 were unique and historical in context. While Harper's current situation is extraordinary by most measures, it pales in comparison to the life of Mr. Robinson, nor will it approach the lasting impact. I regret making this ill-fated correlation."
Harris was quoted by Tom Verducci in a Sports Illustrated story comparing the scrutiny Harper has faced to that placed on Robinson, who broke baseball's color barrier in 1947.
"This is really unfair and it's totally different, but if I can make a comparison to one guy that has been scrutinized like this, it would be Jackie Robinson. And it's unfair because it was a different standard. He was under a microscope in an era when we didn't have Internet, didn't have cellphones," Harris is quoted as saying. "Now, Jackie Robinson had his life threatened. I'm not comparing Bryce to that. But as far as nonstop scrutiny? Absolutely. Day to day."