By Scot Neri – @scooterneri
There’s really no other explanation if you look at their actions this past year. Starting earlier in the season with the Adam Jones claim that a fan called him the n-word. That claim has been highly disputed since not a single person, fan or park employee, heard anything. However, there’s no need to rehash that episode again.
That episode made the powers that run Fenway institute new rules that a lifetime ban shall be implied for anyone making racist remarks or hate speech. A policy that I am sure almost all of us can agree with. To date, only one person has been issued this ban, and no one knows his/her name except the Red Sox and the Globe. The Globe, owned by Sox owner John Henry, is a newspaper still, correct? While some would argue that, I believe it’s still their job to get that information out? Unless it doesn’t exist. “But Scot, why would the Sox make something like that up?” Easy, they WANT it to be true. They want Adam Jones to have the proof he needs and they want to be looked at as the owners who changed Boston sports fans.
Fast forward to several days ago when three “fans” unfurled a makeshift banner with the incredibly ambiguous message that read “Racism is as American as Baseball.” The banner, made everyone in the crowd uncomfortable, not because of its intended message, but because no one truly knew which side of the argument this banner represented. The Sox ownership had them escorted out of the park. Sam Kennedy, Red Sox VP-Operations, appeared on WEEI’s OMF the following day to address the situation. What we learned is that the protesters were not banned for life (or even a day), were not arrested and were actually called “respectful” by Mr. Kennedy.
Respectful? These kids dropped the banner during a salute to a US military veteran. Respectful is literally the last word I would use to describe these people.
And now, buckling to the false narrative that Boston is more racist than any other big city, the Sox have convinced the Celtics, Bruins and Patriots to join them in producing and showing an anti-racist message during games.
Let me off here, this is my stop. Regardless if the message is a good one (of course it is) or if the message is needed here more than other cities (there is absolutely no proof of that), what is this going to accomplish?!
Look, I don’t know what percentage of Fenway fans are racist, but I do know that if they are racist, a public service message on the scoreboard will not change their demented thinking. What the message WILL do is enforce the idea that John Henry and his cohorts believe that you and I and many others there are racist, and that pisses me off.
Finally, as someone who goes to games for all four teams in Boston, and has for over 40 years, I can honestly say I have never heard that word used in the stands. Not once. Has it been? Probably. Is it the same in every city in America? You bet. Just don’t tell John Henry that, he wants this one all to himself.