Delino DeShields
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Delino DeShields says Yankees fans called him the N-word

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Recently, former major league outfielder Torii Hunter said that he was the target of racial epithets from Red Sox fans at Fenway Park. The Red Sox validated Hunter’s claim, calling his experience “real.” The club said there were seven reported incidents involving fans using racial slurs just last year alone.

It is not the first time in recent memory that a Black major leaguer was on the receiving end of bigoted comments. In the early part of the 2017 season, then-Orioles outfielder Adam Jones said Red Sox fans made racist remarks at him and one fan even threw a bag of peanuts at him. The Red Sox also apologized for that incident. Former big league starter CC Sabathia also said he was called the N-word by Red Sox fans.

Despite the surfeit of reported incidents, Red Sox fans aren’t the only fan base to act this way. Make no mistake, every team’s fan base has uncouth, racist members but we just don’t hear about them. Racism is a nationwide, systemic problem.

Indians outfielder Delino DeShields told ESPN’s Joon Lee that in 2015, his rookie season with the Rangers, Yankees fans were taunting him while he stood in left field. DeShields said, “They were wearing me out, talking about my sister, how I would never be as good as my dad, normal stuff.” The fans escalated into calling him the N-word. “Even if you do say something, how many people are going to do something about it? That’s just a situation where you feel alone.”

The Yankees were the last team in Major League Baseball to make a statement about the murder of George Floyd and the ensuing nationwide protests against systemic racism, which includes police brutality. Hopefully, the Yankees’ response to DeShields’ comments won’t be as delayed and will be made in the same validating spirit as the Red Sox response to Hunter.

Ex-Angels employee charged in overdose death of Tyler Skaggs

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FORT WORTH, Texas — A former Angels employee has been charged with conspiracy to distribute fentanyl in connection with last year’s overdose death of Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs, prosecutors in Texas announced Friday.

Eric Prescott Kay was arrested in Fort Worth, Texas, and made his first appearance Friday in federal court, according to Erin Nealy Cox, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas. Kay was communications director for the Angels.

Skaggs was found dead in his hotel room in the Dallas area July 1, 2019, before the start of what was supposed to be a four-game series against the Texas Rangers. The first game was postponed before the teams played the final three games.

Skaggs died after choking on his vomit with a toxic mix of alcohol and the powerful painkillers fentanyl and oxycodone in his system, a coroner’s report said. Prosecutors accused Kay of providing the fentanyl to Skaggs and others, who were not named.

“Tyler Skaggs’s overdose – coming, as it did, in the midst of an ascendant baseball career – should be a wake-up call: No one is immune from this deadly drug, whether sold as a powder or hidden inside an innocuous-looking tablet,” Nealy Cox said.

If convicted, Kay faces up to 20 years in prison. Federal court records do not list an attorney representing him, and an attorney who previously spoke on his behalf did not immediately return a message seeking comment.