Los Angeles — Milton Bradley accused Los Angeles Dodgers teammate Jeff Kent of a lack of leadership and an inability to deal with black players.
Bradley's remarks before Tuesday's game against Colorado came only a couple of minutes after he said the feud between the two that became public last weekend in Florida was a "dead issue."
"The problem is, he doesn't know how to deal with African-American people," Bradley said. "I think that's what's causing everything. It's a pattern of things that have been said - things said off the cuff that I don't interpret as funny. It may be funny to him, but it's not funny to Milton Bradley. But I don't take offense to that because we all joke about race in here. Race is an issue with everything we do in here.
"Me being an African-American is the most important thing to me - more important than baseball," said the 27-year-old center fielder, whose voice never went beyond his normal speaking level. "White people never want to see race - with anything. But there's race involved in baseball. That's why there's less than nine percent African-American representation in the game. I'm one of the few African-Americans that starts here."
Bradley did not like what Kent said to him after Bradley failed to score from first base on a double in Saturday's victory over the Marlins. Bradley initiated a 25-minute closed-door meeting with manager Jim Tracy after that game.
"I was told in spring training I was the team leader by Paul DePodesta. By Jim Tracy. By Frank McCourt," Bradley said of the Dodgers' general manager, manager and owner. "Growing up in LA, I know how to deal with all types of people, and I do it on an everyday basis. But some people don't deal with all different types of people every day, and therefore don't know how to handle situations when they arise."
Bradley accused the media of coming to his locker first Tuesday because he is black. Kent had not yet arrived at his locker.