At least one fan at Fenway Park exhibited some truly abhorrent behavior last night in the direction of Baltimore Orioles’ centerfielder Adam Jones. The link to the story is here, and below is the response from the Red Sox organization:
Red Sox statement: pic.twitter.com/BjjzC7IdN1
— Brian MacPherson (@brianmacp) May 2, 2017
The Red Sox statement in response to Mr. Peanut affirms the organization’s position: racism will not be tolerated. That should be the end of the story, right? Of course not.
Irony of all this is Adam Jones is a long-time friend of David Ortiz + supporter of his charity. Also a mentor to some young Sox players.
— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) May 2, 2017
Presumably these morons were buying hot dogs every time David Ortiz was at the plate. https://t.co/zCnvlBHoqf
— ((((Peter Sagal)))) (@petersagal) May 2, 2017
There are a few things that are perplexing about this nearly-identical sizzling hot take from the two Peters. The incident was discovered by the media post-game, so it appeared in the morning link drop on ESPN. By this point the Red Sox had already issued a strong rebuke of the behavior along with a promise to investigate. I appreciate the fact that both wanted to align themselves with the “racism is bad” argument, but nobody who has followed either’s body of work would have confused either with being racist. Point goes to Sagal for framing it better.
Second… I understand that David Ortiz is perhaps the consummate fan favorite in Red Sox history, but why use him as the point of comparison? The same ESPN article that ran this morning is quoted as saying, with my emphasis added:
“Jones, one of just 62 African-American players on the Opening Day rosters of the league’s 30 teams this year, said he was the target of further taunts as the game continued.”
I can’t admit to knowing Ortiz’s ancestry, but Ortiz was born in the Dominican Republic to Dominican parents, and by baseball’s demographic measures, would be considered Latino. Also, David Ortiz is not in the lineup or on the roster. Why not ask the same question about three African-Americans who made the Sox opening day roster this year – Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley, Jr., and Chris Young? Or David Price, who has been on the disabled list to begin the year? Or any other non-white player on the roster, including Xander Bogaerts, Hanley Ramirez, Christian Vazquez, Marco Hernandez, Sandy Leon, Eduardo Rodriguez, Fernando Abad or Pablo Sandoval?
The reason is simple, the story is not about white vs. non-white, the story is not about the Boston Red Sox, or racism in Boston, and the story is most certainly not about David Ortiz. The story involves a jackass fan, but the story is about Adam Jones. Adam Jones is an extremely talented baseball player and a pillar of his own community, evidenced by his work with the RBI program in Maryland, fundraising for the Boys and Girls Club, his partnership with the YMCA, his donations to the Baltimore Oriole Charitable Foundation of $75,000 every year from his salary, and winning the 2015 Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award.
Adam Jones had an appalling experience at Fenway Park on May 1, one that is unacceptable by any societal standards and embarrassing to the Red Sox organization and its fans. Nobody should be subjected to the same discrimination that Adam Jones experienced last night. Baseball is bigger than racism, and Red Sox fans shouldn’t sweat the small stuff on social media – they should instead give Adam Jones a standing ovation at Fenway tonight and move forward.
— Mookie Betts (@mookiebetts) May 2, 2017
And for Pete’s sake, there’s nothing ironic about any of this.