The Boston Red Sox organization went into damage-control mode on Tuesday morning, hours after Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones said he was taunted with racial slurs by Red Sox fans at Fenway Park.
One fan hurled a bag of peanuts at Jones, causing the fan to be ejected. Further, Jones said he was called the N-word by Fenway fans “a handful of times.” He told USA Today’s Bob Nightengale after the game: “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.”
While some Red Sox fans are still questioning the validity of Jones’ account, the Red Sox are at least saying the right things publicly. Here’s an apology to Jones from team president Sam Kennedy:
“The Red Sox want to publicly apologize to Adam Jones and the entire Orioles organization for what occurred at Fenway Park Monday night. No player should have an object thrown at him on the playing field, nor be subjected to any kind of racism at Fenway Park.
“The Red Sox have zero tolerance for such inexcusable behavior, and our entire organization and our fans are sickened by the conduct of an ignorant few. Such conduct should be reported immediately to Red Sox security, and any spectator behaving in this manner forfeits his/her right to remain in the ballpark, and may be subject to further action. Our review of last night’s events is ongoing.”
We’re also learning more details about the hostility at Fenway Park on Monday night, which was at least partially because of the ongoing feud between the Orioles and the Red Sox that started two weekends ago when Manny Machado injured Dustin Pedroia sliding into second base and the Red Sox retaliating by throwing at Machado’s head.
After the apology, Kennedy went to Boston radio station WEEI to talk more about the incident. Here’s some of what he said, thanks to Evan Drellich of the CSN New England:
• The bag of peanuts that was thrown at Jones might have actually hit a police officer instead.
Sam Kennedy on peanuts bag: “It sounds like it was directed at Adam Jones and it actually hit a member of the Boston police department"
— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) May 2, 2017
• Fan ejections from the game weren’t as high as Jones said on Monday night. He said he heard 50-60 fans were ejected, but Kennedy said the number was actually 34. Tim Britton of the Providence Journal says there are typically 12-15 fan ejections per game, so that’s still significantly higher.
• Kennedy also said the Red Sox haven’t identified any fans who were yelling racist things at Jones, but they plan to meet with Jones and Red Sox players in hopes of finding the person or people responsible. Kennedy did say the Red Sox take Jones at his word that the racist taunts occurred.
While the Red Sox seem to be saying the right things, some Boston fans and Boston-based media members have turned into Adam Jones truthers. Other, more empathetic, Red Sox fans have been imploring their peers to give Jones a standing ovation in Tuesday’s game, as a way of acknowledging that Red Sox fans as a whole are better than their worst apples.
Nice idea, right? Gerry Callahan of the popular Kirk & Callahan morning show on WEEI doesn’t think so:
What if you think he's making it up? Still want to stand and cheer? https://t.co/4iVtk4HkdL
— Gerry Callahan (@GerryCallahan) May 2, 2017
Elsewhere in Boston, Mayor Martin J. Walsh released a statement to the Boston Globe condemning anyone who taunted Jones with racial slurs:
“This is unacceptable and not who we are as a city,. These words and actions have no place in Fenway, Boston, or anywhere. We are better than this.”
Tanisha Sullivan, the president of the Boston chapter for the NAACP, also told The Globe:
“I’m just really sorry that Mr. Jones experienced what appears to be the worst of Boston last night. This is a shame on the city.’’
Finally, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred released a statement on Tuesday afternoon saying such behavior doesn’t reflect baseball fans as a whole:
“The racist words and actions directed at Adam Jones at Fenway Park last night are completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated at any of our ballparks. My office has been in contact with the Red Sox, and the club has made it clear that they will not tolerate this inexcusable behavior. Our 30 Clubs will continue to work with fans and security to provide a family-friendly environment. Any individual who behaves in such offensive fashion will be immediately removed from the ballpark and subject to further action.
“The behavior of these few ignorant individuals does not reflect the millions of great baseball fans who attend our games.”
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