Over the years, we've heard a lot about Boston being a racist city, especially when the conversation was being had about sports and how we treat either our athletes, or opposing ones. I, like probably many of you reading this, have taken great offense to that and wanted to shout back about how dumb it is to paint a whole city with one brush. There are going to be groups of people with certain personalities in every society, and racists are one of those groups for better or for worse. It's just going to happen everywhere unfortunately, and we can't act like Boston has any more or less than any other place.
Anyway, it seems like a lot of the accounts of racism in Boston sports have come from African Americans on opposing teams visiting Fenway Park. There was Adam Jones a few years ago, and then CC Sabathia and now Torii Hunter. The former big leaguer went on ESPN's "Golic and Wingo" last week and the topic of race obviously came up due to all that is going on in our country right now. Torii then told the show that he received so much racial abuse from fans at Fenway Park that he actually had a no-trade clause put into every contract to prevent himself from being dealt to Boston.
"I've been called the N-word in Boston 100 times," Hunter said. "Little kids, with their parents right next to them. That is why I had a no-trade clause to Boston in every contract I had," he continued. These comments of course sparked controversy and headlines around the country and in Boston. The people that aren't from here seemed to shrug and say "what do you expect from Boston?" because of all that they have heard. The people that are from here either felt shame at the thought or anger at Hunter for making it about us and only us.
Boston is a tough city. We don't take any slight too lightly. We can get our backs up pretty easily and when Hunter or Jones or Sabathia makes claims like this, we call BS. We talk about how we've been to Fenway and never heard anything remotely like that. In my own experience, I've noticed that someone yelling anything even slightly edgy, such as a swear or an off-color heckle, will draw groans from the rest of the crowd. It's almost like a rule that you have to be clean and be funny. There are kids there. Racism just wouldn't fly. Would it?
Anyway, Hunter then followed up the Golic and Wingo appearance by going on WEEI's "The Greg Hill Show" on Tuesday morning. He was there to stand by his comments and claim that he heard "far more" racist taunts in Boston than any other city he played in. While I'll question the fact that Torii Hunter even admitted to having wanted to play here at one point and I'll scratch my head about how he feels he wants to target Boston on a national platform while perpetuating a stereotype of the city, I'll just go with it because who am I to say what he did or did not experience?
What I do wish, is not that he didn't say what he said on two different shows. It's not that I wish he spoke with players like Kevin Garnett his buddy David Ortiz about their experiences in the city. It's not even that I wish he didn't feel that way. What I wish, is that it didn't happen. You know why? Because it did. Torii Hunter isn't making this up. Whether he actually heard it more in Boston than in New York or Chicago could be up for debate, but he thinks he did. One time is too many anyway. Hunter heard this type of stuff in Boston, at Fenway, more than once. That's disgusting and sad and it needs to stop, NOW.
To their credit, the Red Sox backed up Torii Hunter. They released a statement, as you can see here....
This is real. pic.twitter.com/gMp8MEPb46— Red Sox (@RedSox) June 10, 2020
While the Sox didn't say they had any proof, they said they believe Torii and Adam and CC. They know this stuff happens to them (7 reported incidents last year) and others at the ball park and in all places. I'm glad that they added that a "small group" doesn't represent us, but it still needs to stop and they/we all need to make sure of that. I know most Red Sox fans are good people, just as most Bostonians, and Americans, and humans are. We'll respond to this and give support to these players. It sure seemed they appreciated it...
Change starts now. Much love!🙏🏾👍🏾✊🏾✊🏻✊🏽✊🏿✊🏼 https://t.co/aoUqmUX24E— Torii Hunter (@toriihunter48) June 10, 2020
Huuuge. https://t.co/4vWZiTIisE— 10 (@SimplyAJ10) June 11, 2020
In the end, the history of Boston (and the Red Sox for that matter) is sprinkled with racism and prejudice. There are many stories to go around that would make anyone sick. Does that mean it's strictly an issue here and that Boston needs to "own it" or succumb to being branded as a racist city? No, that is ridiculous. We're a great city with great people and we need to improve, LIKE EVERYONE ELSE.