If this Adam Jones incident went down the way Jones implies it did at Fenway Park on Monday night, then Boston – we have ourselves a problem.
This one can’t be chalked up to, “oh, it was just a couple of idiot drunks.” No, if the idiot drunks shouted the “N-Word” at Jones in the outfield during Monday night’s game, and no one sitting near the idiot drunks alerted Fenway security immediately – then we are pretty much what Michael Che says we are: “The most racist city in America.”
Now, it’s difficult to pin down exactly what happened here. The fan who threw the peanuts at Jones in the dugout was identified and was ejected. If it was just this one guy, one guy who threw peanuts at Jones and called him the N-word – then we could wash our hands clean of this.
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Isolated incident. One bad apple in a crowd of 37,000.
But based on the reports trickling out on Tuesday, it seems like multiple people targeted Jones.
Red Sox President Sam Kennedy was on WEEI’s “Ordway, Merloni and Fauria Show” Tuesday and said there were 34 ejections at Fenway on Monday night, noting that it was a “high level of ejections.” On a normal night, 12-15 people are ejected (mostly for alcohol-related incidents).
Twenty of the ejections on Monday were related to alcohol (very broad), two to marijuana, one was the “peanut thrower,” one was for profane language directed at a player (Kennedy wasn’t sure which player), several for fan-on-fan fighting, and several for jumping over seats.
Kennedy said the reports, “did not specifically reference racial taunting” though, and that’s where things get messy. It is Jones’ word we have to take here, and from everything we’ve heard, he’s a reputable young man who wouldn’t lie about this stuff.
If Jones was called the N-word in center field by a fan or fan(s), and no one was there to 1. Either beat the piss out of the guy(s) saying it; or 2. Immediately call on security to have the fan(s) ejected – then this is one of the most embarrassing incidents to happen in the history of this city.
You’ve gotta believe that if Jones could hear the N-word from the center field grass at Fenway, then at least 40-50 people sitting around this racist fool in the bleachers could hear it too. There should have been people climbing over each other to try and get this guy (or guys, or girls) the hell out of the ballpark if this is how it went down.
This Jones incident is the reinforcement of a negative stereotype regarding our city, and this is one of the hardest ones we’ve had to defend. The stereotype has been brought up a bunch recently in regards to sports (the Che comment about the Patriots and Falcons, Celtics fans cheering Gordon Hayward), but this one is so much different.
Now, part of the stereotype has to do with the fact that, on average, Boston has much less black people living here than other major cities. Depending on the census you read, it’s somewhere around 7-9 percent. By comparison, New York is around 18 percent, and Philadelphia is around 20 percent. A co-worker from Metro Philadelphia, who went to BU for college, told me a few years back, “the first thing that struck me about Boston is that there’s no black people.”
Not really much we can do about that overnight. This city has been predominantly white for hundreds of years, and the majority of people who grow up here stay here.
Unfortunately, though, it just feeds into the stereotype of Boston being racist.
Up until this week, I believed that this city is no more racist than any other American city. I mean, there are idiots everywhere.
I also stuck to this: if you’re a struggling black quarterback for Ole Miss, I’m guessing you’re going to hear things worse than you’ll hear most nights at Fenway Park. And you’ll be hard pressed to find any Trump rallies in Massachusetts these days.
That all said, this Adam Jones incident is absolutely brutal, and it’s one we won’t live down for some time.
This stereotype of Boston being “the most racist city in America” is very much alive, and that is an absolute shame.