Just last week, a statue of Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese in Brooklyn was vandalized with racist slurs and Hitler references. It was another reminder — like we needed one — that "post-racial America" is a fairytale until further notice.
A statue, made of stone, is bad enough. But Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles is a person, and what happened to him at AT&T Park on Sunday was just as unacceptable. Jones, who is black, said somebody threw a "banana towards my direction" in the ninth inning of Baltimore's 10-2 victory against the San Francisco Giants.
Bananas have been used, time immemorial, in racist depictions of blacks as being subhuman. In 2011, a white fan threw a banana peel at NHL player Wayne Simmonds, who is black, during a game in London, Ont. Canada.
Worse than graffiti, what happened to Simmonds and Jones is tantamount to being spat upon, with an added insult of racism. In 2013, such behavior cannot be tolerated.
Jones expressed his feelings on Twitter, using (understandably) NSFW language:
I want to thank whatever [slapd---] threw that banana towards my direction in CF in the last inning. Way to show ur class u jackass.
In a way, Jones is being kind by using a (NSFW) slang term used to describe a dunce who doesn't quite know what he or she is doing. After sending his tweet, Jones fielded replies from more ignorant fans defending the banana thrower. As a result, Jones says:
Good chance this means I get off social media soon
That would be a shame. Nobody deserves to be taunted with racism, especially not Jones, who — with the occasional exception — engages fans on Twitter and in real life in a consistently friendly way. He's not perfect, but Major League Baseball needs more guys like Jones on social media, not fewer.
Update: The Giants say, via the San Francisco Chronicle, that they're reviewing surveillance video.
Hopefully, between ballpark security cameras and any live witnesses, the Giants can figure out who threw the banana and ban him from games. He or she should be — and needs to be — embarrassed. And Adam Jones is owed an apology.
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