Boston mayor Marty Walsh condemns racial abuse of baseball star
Baltimore Orioles All Star Adam Jones was taunted by Red Sox fans at Fenway Park
Jonathan Schoop is congratulated by Adam Jones after scoring in the fifth inning of the Baltmore Orioles’ win over the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on Monday. Photograph: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images
Baltimore Orioles All Star Adam Jones said he was subjected to racial taunting by Boston Red Sox fans during a Monday night game, prompting an apology from Boston’s Irish-American mayor Marty Walsh, who said the epithets did not represent the city.
But civil rights advocates said the incidents at Fenway Park illustrated an element of simmering racism that is pervasive in a city that considers itself one of the most liberal in the United States.
“A disrespectful fan threw a bag of peanuts at me,” centre fielder Adam Jones told reporters after the game. “I got called the N-word a handful of times tonight. Thanks. Pretty awesome.
“It’s unfortunate that people need to resort to those type of epithets to degrade another human being,” said Jones, a five-time All Star.
Jones said that the incidents were not the first time he has been the target of racial insults but that the ones hurled from the park’s bleachers were the worst he has faced. The Orioles won the game 5-2.
“This is unacceptable and not who we are as a city,” Walsh said in a statement on Tuesday. “These words and actions have no place in Fenway, Boston, or anywhere.”
Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker called the incident “unacceptable & shameful” in a Twitter post while the Red Sox issued an apology to Jones.
“Our entire organization and our fans are sickened by the conduct of an ignorant few,” Sam Kennedy, the team’s president, said in a statement. “Any spectator behaving in this manner forfeits his/her right to remain in the ballpark.”
The incidents came months after Saturday Night Live star Michael Che called Boston “the most racist city I’ve ever been to”. He drew a firestorm of criticism but Che stood by his comments, following with a March Instagram post that read “my grandma is racist too, but i still love her”.
Experiences like Jones’s are common in Boston, said Tanisha Sullivan, president of the Boston National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), though rarely get as much attention.
It evoked memories of the 1970s, when white Bostonians lashed out in anger over court-ordered racial integration of schools by hurling rocks at school buses.
“This incident is certainly a stain on the city of Boston,” Sullivan said in an interview. “It is certainly emblematic of what so many people of colour here in the city of Boston, black folk in the city of Boston, experience day in and day out.”