May 2, 2017 by salucco
Adam Jones (left) is in his twelfth year in the MLB. (Courtesy of Elise Amendola / AP)
Written by Alex Salucco
“Boston is a racist city” is a phrase that has been uttered for decades. As I’ve grown older I haven’t heard it as much – this is not the same world it was during the civil rights movement. How many times do we have to hear this? Well, as long as fans are shouting the N-word at opposing players, we may never hear the end of it.
Last night Adam Jones was subject to racial slurs while roaming centerfield for the Baltimore Orioles during their game at Fenway Park.
“A disrespectful fan threw a bag of peanuts at me,” Jones said, according to USA Today. “I was called the N-word a handful of times tonight. Thanks. Pretty awesome.”
I have a feeling this was sparked by Jones’ comments before the season calling baseball “a white man’s sport.”
“Baseball is numbers. It’s 8 percent black. I didn’t make that up,” Jones told the Baltimore Sun. “In football, basketball, the numbers are in the 60s and 70s. These aren’t made up numbers. It just is what it is. I’m part of the 8 percent.”
He’s not wrong – only 8 percent of the league classifies as African-American with a total of just 69 players being on 2017 Opening Day rosters of the league’s 30 teams. On Opening Day of 1991, 18 percent of rosters were African-American.
This isn’t Jones’ first run around with this sort of thing which is crazy to think about because he represented the USA in this year’s World Baseball Classic. In 2013, a banana was thrown at Jones while playing in San Francisco.
The Boston Red Sox released a statement today regarding last night’s actions of the fans.
“The Red Sox want to publicly apologize to Adam Jones and the entire Orioles organization for what occurred at Fenway Park Monday night…No player should have an object thrown at him on the playing field, nor be subjected to any kind of racism at Fenway Park. The Red Sox have zero tolerance for such inexcusable behavior, and our entire organization and our fans are sickened by the conduct of an ignorant few.”
I love how the Sox hide use “an ignorant few” to deflect the pig picture; that this has been a problem in Boston. Does this happen across the country? Yes, but Boston is forced to wear it because of their history. David Price seems to be the most recent victim.
Price told Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe he heard racial taunts at Fenway Park last year:
By the middle of the season, Price said, some fans at Fenway Park heaped abuse on him when he warmed up in the bullpen before starts.
“It got pretty rough,” he said. “If you don’t like it, pitch better. That’s all it is. Mike Brenly, our bullpen catcher, he stood up for me multiple times. The Fenway guards, too, [and] the bullpen cop.”
Some of the taunts were racial in nature.
“I got it all,” Price said. “It’s all right. I don’t care about that. My mom is white and my dad is black. I’ve heard that since I’ve been in school. There’s nothing you can say to me that I haven’t heard before. Your ignorance is not going to affect what I’m trying to do. But I feel sad it’s still out there.”
The sad part is that when things like this happen in Boston, it doesn’t surprise me. Bill Russell, a trail blazer among African-American athletes, a leader and a consummate champion holds perhaps the most hate-filled story.
During his reign of winning title after title for the city of Boston, Russell was still receiving threats and fearing for his safety. One day, his home was broken into. Instead of stealing things, the culprits left the legend a present; a steaming pile of shit directly on his bed.
I don’t think I need to weigh in on this one; the action speaks for itself. If you noticed, I decided to use experiences of others to tackle this story because just knowing that things like this still happen is heavy enough. But, I will add this.
I myself have experienced a good deal of hate in the Boston-area for continuously standing up for the rights of African-Americans – as insane as that is to read, it is doubly frivolous to write. Multiple times I have been told that I “wish I was black.” Yeah, sure, I would love to be treated with hate and violence because of the lack of control that I have when it comes to the color of my skin.
This blog may seem one-sided, but look at history. I’m just evening it out.