No Place For Racial Taunts: Not Here, Not Now, Not Anymore, Except In Boston

MLB News Any professional athlete who plays in Boston will tell you of an underlying strain of racist thought that periodically seeps through cracks in the polite veneer. On...

MLB News

Any professional athlete who plays in Boston will tell you of an underlying strain of racist thought that periodically seeps through cracks in the polite veneer.

On Monday night, Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones heard it as his team played the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. The N-word. Directed at him. Along with a bag of peanuts thrown at him. It’s difficult to say which was worse – that it happened again, or that it happened at all.
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“I thought we’d moved past this a long time ago,” Jones said before Tuesday night’s game.

I think he was just being polite. The insults, the degradation of black athletes has a long tradition in Boston. Former heavyweight champion Larry Holmes periodically railed about the “racist city of Boston.” New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia observed that Boston’s proclivity for racial taunts is always in the minds of baseball’s few black major leaguers.

“We know. There are 62 of us, and we all know that when you go to Boston, expect it,’’ Sabathia said. “I have never been called the N-word anywhere else.’’

MLB apologized for the verbal assault on Jones. The Red Sox’s front office apologized. Fans even cheered Jones as he stepped to the plate for the first time on Tuesday night.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred promised a crackdown on unacceptable fan behavior and said in a statement: “The behavior of these few ignorant individuals does not reflect the millions of great baseball fans who attend our games.”

It’s rarely about the many and usually about the few. Now how do we get the many to influence the few? How do we make the few even fewer? What year is this, anyway?
 
 
Post By: Larry Weisman, a longtime sportswriter for USA TODAY, blogs for Twistity.com. Follow him on Twitter @MrLarryWeisman

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