Earlier this month, Orioles outfielder Adam Jones was the recipient of some hateful actions at Fenway Park. One fan attempted to throw peanuts at him while another shouted a racist epithet at him from the center field seats. The Red Sox handled the situation well, apologizing to Jones and vowing to do better than it comes to handling fan misconduct.
Unfortunately, Jones’ story is all too common. Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia backed up Jones’ story, saying he’d only been called the N-word in Boston. Red Sox pitcher David Price said he was the recipient of racist slurs from Boston fans last year when he struggled. Outfielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. said the same when he got off to a slow start in 2014. Barry Bonds, in 2004, said he’d never play in Boston because the city is “too racist for me.” Vernon Wells said Fenway Park was one of the only two stadiums he was warned about where racially motivated comments might occur.
Despite the preponderance of testimony from players past and present, as well as the statistics which show that black people face a totally different reality than white people, Jones still found skeptics. Given his platform, Curt Schilling was the loudest, claiming Jones made the whole thing up for attention.
Jones wrote a short column and shot a video for The Players’ Tribune addressing the situation as well as his skeptics.
Kudos to Jones for continuing to speak up about this. The aim of Jones’ skeptics is not just to dissuade Jones from pressing the issue, but to dissuade other people who face similar issues every day from speaking up. The end result, they hope, is a society that remains unchanged despite its fatal flaws.