Adam Jones took his place in the outfield during Monday night’s baseball game at Fenway Park. The Baltimore Orioles center fielder may have been waiting to catch a few fly balls during the outing, but instead, he caught wind of something unexpected. The All Star was berated by fans sitting in the bleachers, many using racial slurs to taunt him. Jones said that, at one point, a fan even threw a bag of peanuts at him.
“A disrespectful fan threw a bag of peanuts at me. I was called the N-word a handful of times tonight. Thanks. Pretty awesome,” Jones told the media after the game. Although Jones has been heckled during other baseball games, his experience at Fenway Park was “different.”
“Very unfortunate. I heard there was 59 or 60 ejections tonight in the ballpark. It is what it is, right. I just go out and play baseball. It’s unfortunate that people need to resort to those type of epithets to degrade another human being. I’m trying to make a living for myself and for my family. It’s unfortunate. The best thing about myself is that I continue to move on, and still play the game hard. Let people be who they are. Let them show their true colors,” he said.
USA Today confirmed that the fan who threw the bag of peanuts at Jones was escorted out of the ballpark. Despite the quick action taken by security, Jones feels that more needs to be done in order for this behavior to stop. He is calling for more strict punishments on fans that take things too far.
“It’s pathetic. It’s called a coward. What they need to do is that instead of kicking them out of the stadium, they need to fine them 10 grand, 20 grand, 30 grand. Something that really hurts somebody. Make them pay in full. And if they don’t, take it out of their check. That’s how you hurt somebody. You suspend them from the stadium, what does that mean? It’s a slap on the wrist. That guy needs to be confronted, and he needs to pay for what he’s done. At the end of the day, when you throw an object onto the field of play, the player has no idea what it is. What if something hit me right in the eye and I can’t play baseball anymore. Then what? I just wear it? No. Things like that need to be handled a little more properly, in my opinion.”
Monday night’s verbal assault came eight months after an interview in which Jones referred to baseball as a “white man’s sport.” The comments came as part of an explanation of why black MLB players hadn’t taken a stand in the form of a silent protest during the National Anthem before games.
“We already have two strikes against us already, so you might as well not kick yourself out of the game. In football, you can’t kick them out. You need those players. In baseball, they don’t need us. Baseball is a white man’s sport,” Jones told USA Today Sports in September 2016.
In 2017, only 58 baseball players on active rosters identified as African American or black. That accounts for a little over 8 percent of the total athletes playing in MLB. While some might agree with Jones’ statement about baseball being a “white man’s sport,” most would also agree that this shouldn’t open the door to racism.
Social media has been lighting up with comments about Jones and what happened at Fenway Park last night.
MLB Commissioner Robert Manfred released a statement following Monday night’s game.
The Boston Red Sox have issued a public apology to Jones by way of a statement following last night’s incidents.
“The Red Sox want to publicly apologize to Adam Jones and the entire Orioles organization for what occurred at Fenway Park Monday night. No player should have an object thrown at him on the playing field, nor be subjected to any kind of racism at Fenway Park. The Red Sox have zero tolerance for such inexcusable behavior, and our entire organization and our fans are sickened by the conduct of an ignorant few. Such conduct should be reported immediately to Red Sox security, and any spectator behaving in this manner forfeits his/her right to remain in the ballpark, and may be subject to further action. Our review of last night’s events is ongoing.”
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has also released a statement.
“This is unacceptable and not who we are as a city. These words and actions have no place in Fenway, Boston, or anywhere. We are better than this.”
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker tweeted on the matter.
In an effort to show respect and offer an apology on behalf of the disrespectful baseball fans at Monday’s game, some are calling for a standing ovation for Jones during tonight’s matchup between the Red Sox and the Orioles at Fenway Park at 7:10 p.m. EST.