I wasn’t surprised to hear that Adam Jones was harassed and called the n-word. I also wasn’t surprised to learn that this happened in Boston.
Quick background on your boy: I am originally from Brooklyn, NY, so I am a bit adversely-biased when it comes to Boston. From visiting Boston a few times in the past, I also know that Boston has special kinds of brave, tough — and sometimes MEAN — white people.
Despite my innate hatred — ok ‘hatred’ is WAY too strong, so I’ll say ‘disdain’ — for Boston, I think that the bashing of Boston over the episode with Jones is very unfair.
Let’s be real about something: Boston is not the only major American city with a complicated racial history. Hell, I’d argue that Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, New York City, St. Louis and Milwaukee are MORE racist than Boston.
Over the years there have been instances of racism in stadiums across the country.
A fan at a baseball game in San Francisco once threw a banana at the opposing outfielder who happened to be, guess who: Adam Jones. That’s right y’all, the SAME San Francisco that is supposedly the bastion of all things liberal. There were reports of Donovan McNabb being peppered with racist taunts in Philadelphia — his OWN HOME CROWD. Same with the great Warren Moon.
So one has to ask the obvious questions. Why does this keep happening? What makes people feel so damn comfortable hurling racial epithets at sporting events?
Let’s go down memory lane right quick.
Remember when John Rocker was suspended for the racist crap he said in a Sports Illustrated article? Well, his first game back happened to be at the Atlanta Braves’ old crib, Turner Field. When Rocker came running out of the bullpen to the mound, he was greeted with a STANDING OVATION.
Makes ya wonder what those folks say about people who look like me (and other people of color) in private, huh?
Now that the questions have been asked, what the hell are the solutions?
In my dealings with people from all colors and walks of life, I believe the key to ANY relationship is communication. Talking about subjects that are a little bit uncomfortable goes a long way of easing some tension.
Unfortunately when it comes to discussing a topic like race, a lot of people fall for the antithesis of communication: denial.
We’ve encounter this a lot, especially among strangers posing as “keyboard warriors” and our own FRIENDS on social media. Folks have been “un-friended” and un-followed as the result of those denials. Hell there have been a few dudes who I once called “friends” in college that I fell out with over such things.
Unfortunately for the rest of us, it appears that the more race gets talked about, the more folks want to deny it. And when one denies something that is so toxic, it’s only going to bubble under the surface — and explode.
Albert Breer, a writer for Sports Illustrated, said that he DID NOT BELIEVE that the fans in Fenway Park hurled those racist taunts at Jones because, get this: he’s never SEEN such a thing happen the few times he went to games there. Therefore, he wanted to SEE PROOF that it did happened to Jones!
Keep in mind this is the same dude who claims to know for a fact that Colin Kaepernick is not being blackballed. How does he know? Because he was TOLD that from NFL executives.
So in other words, he needed to SEE the evidence at Fenway Park, but only went by folks’ words on Kaepernick. Uh huh.
Y’all see why crap like this frustrates the hell out of me? Welcome to the life of a minority in this otherwise great nation…