Jul 27, 2011, 1:24 AM EDT
Nationals director of player development Doug Harris issued a statement Tuesday evening clarifying remarks he made in a Sports Illustrated article about Bryce Harper in which he compared the scrutiny the 18-year-old phenom is facing to the pressure Jackie Robinson faced after breaking baseball’s color barrier.
In the SI article written by Tom Verducci, Harris was asked about the scrutiny Harper has faced in his first professional season, one that has seen the young outfielder criticized for every move he makes on and off the field.
“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,” Harris said in the article. “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.
“Now, Jackie Robinson had his life threatened. I’m not comparing Bryce to that. But as far as nonstop scrutiny? Absolutely. Day to day.”
The release of the article Tuesday sparked heavy criticism of Harris’ comparison, prompting the head of the Nationals’ farm system to issue
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