New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia addressed the Adam Jones incident before his team’s game on Tuesday in New York City and revealed a startling reality of being a black player in Major League Baseball — when you go to Boston, you expect to hear racial slurs.
Sabathia, a 17-year big-league vet, also said Fenway Park is the only stadium in baseball where he’s heard a fan call him the N-word. Here’s more of what Sabathia had to say, in a series of tweets from Eric Boland, the Yankees beat writer for Newsday:
In Boston on Monday night, one fan was ejected after throwing a bag of peanuts at Jones, the Baltimore Orioles’ centerfielder. After the game, Jones said he was called the N-word by Fenway fans “a handful of times.” The Red Sox apologized on Tuesday morning, and the incident has been a conversation-starter all around sports. The MLB commissioner, the MLB Players Association, Boston’s mayor and the local NAACP have all weighed in.
Jones spoke again about the issue before Tuesday’s game. He said he’s fine with fans booing him or telling him he sucks. “Just keep the racist stuff out of there,” Jones said.
That’s a commendable point of view from Jones, who is able to smile while talking about something so horrible. Also horrible is the notion put forth by Sabathia that black baseball players just expect as part of their jobs that when they go to Boston, there’s a good chance they’ll hear something racist from a fan.
It’s not just opposing teams either. David Price, one of the Red Sox’s current players, said earlier this year that he’s heard racial slurs from Red Sox fans. Meanwhile, Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts, who is black, implored the team’s fan base to stand up for Jones.
Baseball recently celebrated 70 years since Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier.
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