Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones took to The Players’ Tribune on Friday to open up about the ugly incident at Fenway Park earlier this season that saw him be subjected to racist taunts from Boston Red Sox fans.
It was a situation that tugged at the core of MLB itself. Commissioner Rob Manfred covered the incident itself in detail. And the Red Sox themselves made sure to note that this isn’t a representation of their entire fan base. A day after the incident, Jones received a standing ovation from Boston’s faithful.
Now, in opening up about the incident, Jones has some pretty alarming words.
“Well, it’s 2017, and some people are still just stupid. I’ve heard plenty of stuff on a baseball field over the years. You expect trash talk from fans. Sometimes you even enjoy it,” Jones said. “But to be out there playing the game you love, and to hear somebody call you the N-word? To have peanuts thrown at you, like you’re not even a human being? It’s disgusting.”
Other players have since come out to indicate that they have also been subjected to racist comments at Fenway Park. Whether it’s a larger-scale problem or just a few idiots making the entire fan base look bad remains to be seen.
But for Jones, this is in no way acceptable. That’s only magnified when he looks at it from the perspective of his three-year-old son.
“For me, this is about my three-year-old son. He doesn’t know everything that happened a few weeks ago in Boston, but he knows enough. He knows that somebody threw a bag of peanuts at Daddy while he was playing in the game. He knows that somebody called Daddy a hateful word that you should never say to anybody. He doesn’t understand why, but he knows what happened,” Jones said. “It breaks my heart that he had to find out about hate at three years old.”
Jones himself seemed entirely oblivious to the race thing as a child. As the All-Star notes, he grew up in San Diego with friends of Latino and Caucasian background. “I honestly hardly ever thought about race,” Jones said.
As someone who also grew up in California, this one scribe completely understands where Jones is coming from there. What’s horrible here is that not until Jones started playing professionally on the diamond, was he subjected to racist taunts.
“It wasn’t until I was 19 years old, playing AA ball in Springfield, Missouri, that a white person called me the n-word straight to my face,” Jones continued. “I was walking home with a teammate after dinner, and this older guy on a bike came riding past, yelling out racist insults at us for no reason.”
Jones’ essay on The Players’ Tribune is definitely something you should check out in full. It gives us his side of an ugly incident that marred the early part of the MLB season.