Chris Sale stepped off the rubber Tuesday, and Fenway Park rose to applaud Adam Jones, the man it discriminated against hours earlier.
Following Monday’s game against the Red Sox, Jones said fans in the outfield bleachers taunted him with racial slurs. One, Jones said, threw a bag of peanuts at his head.
Twenty-four hours of admonishment and national outrage toward those few ensued. Boston mayor Marty Walsh, Red Sox president Sam Kennedy and other dignitaries apologized profusely for something they neither condoned nor could control.
African-American players around baseball — there are only 62 in all — corroborated the story. Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia said he and his fellow African-American players speak often about the treatment they receive.
“When you go to Boston, expect it,” said Sabathia, who added he’s been called the n-word in at Fenway Park.
Even David Price, the Red Sox prized acquisition at last season’s trade deadline, said he’s heard slurs.
Changing a bigot’s viewpoint is almost impossible. And that aforementioned standing ovation given to Jones was akin to a forced charade due to the national backlash. It hasn’t solved anything.
Jones, Sabathia and others may just play a game, but their game is their livelihood. Discrimination is abhorrent in any form, but even moreso while a man simply does his job.
Solving this problem is not easy. It requires vigilance and internal fortitude from others who see this behavior to speak up. And, when they do, the onus is on an organization to ensure the perpetrators never step foot in these men’s workplace again.