The current ownership of the Boston Red Sox has seen success during their tenure as owners of the team. After four World Series Championships and hundreds of millions of dollars made there is still one thing plaguing this team. The topic of racism in America has been at the forefront of national media. It’s also been at a high velocity on social media since the death of George Floyd.
On Wednesday night, the Red Sox took to Twitter to acknowledge the alleged claims that former big league outfielder Torii Hunter was hearing the N-word when playing at Fenway Park by fans. Hunter was recently on ESPN’s “Golic and Wingo” where he explained his repeated experiences of racial abuse at Fenway Park. He would go on to add that he specifically asked for a no-trade clause in his contract to avoid being dealt to Boston.
To hear this is very disheartening as a Red Sox fan because while we want to have fun at Fenway to watch the Sox play, fun should not come at the cost of using racial epithets in the crowd towards any player. Hunter also took to the “Greg Hill Show” on WEEI stating that he heard racial taunting at numerous MLB ballparks but heard them more in Boston than anywhere else.
“When I went to Boston it was so consistent,” Hunter said. “It has nothing to do with the Red Sox. It has nothing to do with the players. It has nothing to do with the organization. It really has nothing to do with the fans. But that’s the issue when you hear that.”
Hunter would go on further to tell a story about “four or five” kids chanting the “N-word” at him while playing the outfield. According to Hunter, he said “it disturbed him” no one asked the kids to stop. “When I heard ‘N-word, N-word’ just chanting my name and I looked at these grown-ups and they are clapping and laughing,” Hunter said. “I’m pointing saying, ‘Tell them to shut up. That’s bad. So when I looked at the grown-ups and they didn’t do anything, that’s not a Red Sox issue. That’s an issue in society.”
In the Red Sox statement on Twitter they would go on to say “Torii Hunter’s experience is real. If you doubt him because you’ve never heard it yourself, take it from us, it happens. Last year, there were reportedly seven incidents at Fenway Park where fans were using racial slurs. Those are just the ones we know about.”
The Actual Quote from the Red Sox
In the past former Orioles centerfielder Adam Jones stated he was called racial slurs while playing at Fenway Park. In an article on the Player’s Tribune, Jones was looked back on the racist incidents he experienced at Fenway Park. “This is not just about Fenway. This isn’t just about one drunk guy. This is not just about Major League Baseball. For me, this is about my three-year old son.”
The Red Sox have made strides in the last few years, trying to separate themselves from former owner Tom Yawkey. The current ownership petitioned the city of Boston to have Yawkey Way renamed to Jersey Street. The city of Boston gave approval and Jersey Street became the new street name. Red Sox fans have still been asking for the Red Sox to remove the Morse code on the Green Monster. This code spells out Tom and his wife Jean Yawkey’s initials. In a statement from the Red Sox a few years ago regarding removing the Morse code from the Green Monster, “The petition to rename Yawkey Way is an effort to continue to work towards inclusion at Fenway Park, not an effort to erase the Yawkey legacy from the ballpark entirely. The name on our front door is very different from other areas of Fenway Park that showcase the history of the Yawkey era. We have no plans to remove other references or tributes to him.”
While trying to cherish references and tributes to the history of the organization and the owner, the Red Sox should follow suit. Remove the addition reference to Yawkey from the Green Monster! Red Sox owner John Henry has said in the past that he’s “haunted” by the racist past of the team while it was owned by Yawkey. Henry can make a bigger stand and have the Morse code removed and separate his ownership and legacy from Yawkey once and for all.
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-Chris Henrique (@ChrisHenrique)