Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

New Tampa Bay Rays DH Luke Scott has stirred controversy over Obama's birth certificate and religion

The Tampa Bay Rays haven't let a little controversy sway them from signing free agents over the past two seasons. Last year, it was outfielder Manny Ramirez, who was long cited as a prima donna for his behavior on and off the field in Los Angeles, Boston and Cleveland.

This year, the team has signed designated hitter Luke Scott, who created a stir in Baltimore last season by expressing doubts about Barack Obama's birth certificate.

"(President Obama's) birth certificate has yet to be validated," the Kansas City Star quoted Scott as saying in May. "If they can counterfeit $100 bills, I think it's a million times easier to counterfeit a birth certificate, if you ask me. … So, all it is, let's just see if it's real. Anybody can produce a document, so let's check it out."

The president's 1961 birth in Honolulu was questioned by some as long ago as 2005, despite an abundance of evidence to discredit claims that he was born outside the United States, or as a foreign citizen. The Baltimore Orioles were quick to distance the organization from Scott's comments.

Scott later told the Baltimore Sun he felt it was his duty as an American to use the platform available to him as a professional athlete to question authority.

"We all have that responsibility as Americans," Scott said. "Whatever platform you have, large or small, fight for what's right. Fight for what's right and fight for the principles of honor, integrity, accountability, being a person. Responsible. Hard work. Discipline. Honesty. Things like that, try and pass those principles on to the next generation. Be a voice for that. Maybe being a baseball player and having a little bigger platform than the next (person), then my responsibility should be to stand up for those principles. If I was in construction or working in an office I should stand up for those principles as well."

Scott also drew barbs from then-Ray Matt Garza in September 2010, when he quoted the Bible after Garza expressed satisfaction in a win after a previous rough outing against the Orioles.

Scott chastised Garza for boasting, using the verse: "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."

Garza responded the next day by saying he thought it was inappropriate for Scott, a devout Christian, to bring religion into baseball. "My feeling is that God has a lot better things to worry about than if I'm going to throw a strike on a certain pitch. A lot of other things," Garza said. "I'd rather (Scott) not bring it up."

Scott later defended his comments.

"He's just saying religion is not something you bring into baseball," Scott said. "It's all a matter of choice. That's not how I view it. I consider it a blessing to be here, and I am thankful for the opportunity to play. And that's just my personal beliefs."

New Tampa Bay Rays DH Luke Scott has stirred controversy over Obama's birth certificate and religion 01/12/12 [Last modified: Thursday, January 12, 2012 3:49pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bucs journal: Dirk Koetter says Vernon Hargreaves needs to improve

    Bucs

    TAMPA — The Bucs now rank 31st in the NFL in pass defense, allowing 301 yards per game in their 2-3 start, and coach Dirk Koetter was asked Monday how concerned he is with the play of second-year CB Vernon Hargreaves.

    Ryan Fitzpatrick, throwing an incompletion under pressure after replacing injured Jameis Winston against the Cardinals,  would start this Sunday in Buffalo if Winston’s shoulder is still bothering him.
  2. Backhand shot makes Nikita Kucherov's offense even more dangerous

    Lightning Strikes

    DETROIT — Nikita Kucherov is on a historic streak, just the fourth player in the last 30 years to score a goal in each of his first six games.

    Nikita Kucherov’s backhand shot adds to his strong scoring.
  3. Rick Pitino officially fired by Louisville amid federal corruption probe

    College

    In an expected move, the University of Louisville Athletic Association's Board of Directors on Monday voted unanimously to fire men's basketball coach Rick Pitino. The decision came 19 days after Louisville acknowledged that its men's basketball program was being investigated as part of a federal corruption probe and …

    In this Oct. 20, 2016, file photo, Louisville head basketball coach Rick Pitino reacts to a question during a press conference in Louisville, Ky. Louisville's Athletic Association on Monday officially fired Pitino, nearly three weeks after the school acknowledged that its men's basketball program is being investigated as part of a federal corruption probe. [AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File]
  4. Deception key to Nikita Kucherov's hot start

    Blogs

    Nikita Kucherov is on a historic streak, the first player in Lightning history to score a goal in each of the first five games.

    Nikita Kucherov is the first player in Lightning history to score a goal in each of the first five games.
  5. Luke Witkowski living 'lifelong dream' with Red Wings

    Blogs

    Defenseman Luke Witkowski couldn't help but take a peek at the Lightning's morning skate Monday at the brand-new Little Caesar's Arena.

    Luke Witkowski (28) played his first 55 NHL games with the Lightning, until signing a two-year $1.5 million deal with Detroit in the summer.