After Monday’s game against the Red Sox at Fenway Park, Orioles outfielder Adam Jones told USA Today’s Bob Nightengale that he had been the fans’ target for racist insults and one thrown bag of peanuts. Jones’s original quotes:
“A disrespectful fan threw a bag of peanuts at me,’’ Jones said, “I was called the N-word a handful of times tonight. Thanks. Pretty awesome.”
“It’s different,” he said. “Very unfortunate. I heard there was 59 or 60 ejections tonight in the ballpark. It is what it is, right. I just go out and play baseball. It’s unfortunate that people need to resort to those type of epithets to degrade another human being. I’m trying to make a living for myself and for my family.”
Reader Ben Teles shared a video from the game of the fan who he says threw the peanuts:
Ben did not hear the alleged peanut thrower say anything racist—“I could see him screaming stuff the whole game but I couldn’t really hear him well,” and Jones said the racial abuse came from several fans. From our email conversation:
He clearly threw a bag of peanuts straight at Adam Jones. Hit right in the shoulder or face. He was sitting a few rows in front of me. Then Adam told the cops and security came and kicked him out. The fans around him told security who did it.
The Red Sox acknowledged and condemned the fans’ behavior, and said they would look into the incidents; Mayor Marty Walsh said that what happened had “no place in Fenway, Boston or anywhere.” Some New Englanders on Twitter disparaged whoever did that to Jones. Others, like The MMQB’s Albert Breer, chose to push back against the idea that one bad apple represented many:
Breer added that he has been to “200 games at Fenway in my life,” and had never witnessed racism towards a player, which is such a fucking stretch and also who gives a shit about your experience, Albert?
WEEI radio host Gerry Callahan openly asked what would happen if Jones had fabricated what happened. A fun thought experiment from a guy who was once suspended for making a racist joke.
Kirk Minihane, the dark green ooze found where your bathroom faucet connects to your sink, also had a take:
Saying Boston is racist is like saying the Browns suck. When you say the Browns suck, that doesn’t mean every individual on the Browns is the worst football player at his respective position. Surely, they have some talent among the roster. As a whole, however, they do suck, and it is not controversial to say so.
In my opinion—and I use this unnecessary caveat for the Breers out there who demand cold hard evidence, whatever that could possibly be beyond accounts from the athletes who’ve actually suffered the abuse, like, apparently, every black major-league player—the reason Boston gets more shit than other cities is because they protest the accusations in a way few other places do.
No one who says Boston is racist believes it’s the only racist city. New York is racist. Chicago is racist. Los Angeles is racist. A lot of places are racist. All places are racist. In 2008, John Gonzalez wrote a feature for Boston magazine about the perception the city gets, and whether it was justified. The article ended with this quote:
To that end, the city itself could probably learn something from the experiences of Guy Stuart, the Kennedy School lecturer. Before he came to Boston, Stuart, who is white, spent a decade working in black communities in Chicago. It was there that he learned a useful lesson: If you want to improve race relations, “don’t go around simply saying you’re not racist.”
Boston isn’t being asked to solve racism. The request is that when someone talks about the time someone in Boston was racist towards them, instead of some 23-year-old in boat shoes claiming how no one has ever been racist towards him, the response should be along the lines of the Red Sox and Mayor Walsh, who essentially said, “That was unacceptable. Sorry.” It’s really the least that can be done.