On Monday night, Orioles outfielder Adam Jones was the recipient of some racial slurs – including the N-word – at Fenway Park in Boston. The incident was serious enough to warrant an official apology from the Red Sox – though they were not really the ones at fault. But on the slightly brighter side of this story, Adam Jones did receive a standing ovation before his first plate appearance back at Fenway.
The ovation does not, of course, make up for anything that happened a few nights ago, but it was good to see, nonetheless:
— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) May 3, 2017
In the wake of this story, several Chicago Cubs players have shared their thoughts on the matter, and you can read their comments in full at the Chicago Tribune, CSN Chicago, and CSN Chicago (again). But before we get into any of their individual comments, I want to start with the wise conclusion Joe Maddon came to, as he remembered his days in Texas and Arkansas back in the 80s (CSN):
“Maddon remembered some of his African-American players were subject to heckling and threats in games at Little Rock, Ark., and Beaumont, Texas, in the mid-1980s. ‘(At Little Rock,) there was stuff coming out of the stands I couldn’t believe,’ Maddon recalled. ‘I wanted more security.’ Maddon said the Little Rock general manager told him, ‘that’s just the boys having some fun.’
‘At some point, you have to do something about it,’ Maddon said. ‘You can’t just listen to it.‘”
At some point, we cannot continue to make excuses for the few. Because in the case of our current environment, a few bad apples really does spoil the bunch. Your bunch might still be fine, but we cannot continue on if we are only worried about ourselves. These comments, for one example, were being hurled at a human being in front of 35,000 or other fans at Fenway. How did he/she ever feel comfortable enough to do that in front of so many? It’s up to the rest of us to make sure those people are made to feel extremely uncomfortable in those moments.
And this problem isn’t isolated to Fenway.
Jason Heyward said that he wasn’t even shocked by the slurs, because “you hear stuff” at all kinds of parks and cities. In fact, Heyward said he received similar taunts after lying on the ground (in pain) after making that catch in San Francisco last season.
Kyle Schwarber, Carl Edwards Jr., and Kris Bryant are all equally sick to their stomachs, and you can read their comments in the above articles.
For what it’s worth, the Red Sox are reportedly considering instituting lifetime bans for fans caught yelling racial slurs. And before you suggest that it’s too harsh a punishment, consider what you’re supporting by saying as much.
At the end, I’ll leave you with comments from Miguel Montero – who just became a U.S. citizen that very night – because I think he sums things up quite nicely (CSN): “We’re all humans – we’re here for a purpose in life. Everybody has to appreciate life. It doesn’t matter who you are. It doesn’t matter what you got. It doesn’t matter how old you are. I think we’re all the same – we’re all going to die.”
Life is short friends. Be nice to each other.