McClendon's comments come just days after two MLB teams parted ways with black managers, and on the same day that the owner of the NBA's Atlanta Hawks, Bruce Levenson, announced he would sell his ownership stake in the team after a 2012 email surfaced in which he made racially insensitive remarks.
The Houston Astros cut ties with manager Bo Porter on Monday, and Texas Rangers' manager Ron Washington resigned unexpectedly from his duties Friday due to an undisclosed personal issue. The moves left McClendon as the only black manager in the major leagues.
McClendon told Watkins:
"It's concerning," McClendon said. "Not just from a managerial standpoint but from a player standpoint, in what's happening with baseball in the inner cities. I think from all the conversations I've had, I know Major League Baseball is committed to bringing [it] back to the inner cities. I think from a philosophical standpoint we're missing some ideas that need to be in there.
"We've had several conversations with a committee in Detroit on that," McClendon said. "I'm sure it's still moving forward. Is it concerning? Yeah, when [I] used to watch my son play in college he would be the only African-American on both sides of the ball."
Major League Baseball has run the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities, or 'RBI program,' which attempts to bring the game of baseball to African-American communities, for the past 15 years.
- Will Green