During the fourth inning of the Red Sox game against the A’s on Wednesday night, a banner that read, “Racism is as American as baseball” was unfurled atop the Green Monster.
Some fans in the Monster Seats hung a banner over the wall that said, “Racism Is As American As Baseball.” Security removed them. pic.twitter.com/tVSai9XocY
— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) September 14, 2017
At first, plenty of people were confused about the message the sign was meant to convey. Was it a racist message or an anti-racist message?
Hopefully the sign at Fenway was written with the right intent/message in mind…but the fact that’s not clear means it was a bad idea.
— Adam Kaufman (@AdamMKaufman) September 14, 2017
The banner, as well as the two men and two women responsible for it, were removed from the ballpark about two minutes after it became visible. The Red Sox said the folks violated the team’s policy “prohibiting signs of any kind to be hung or affixed to the ballpark.”
While Antifa Boston, via Twitter, took credit for the disruption, the group of four denied any affiliation with that group, per ESPN.
Racism is as American as Baseball
Another Boston Antifa victory at the Red Sox game tonight. We have been on fire all summer! 😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/BOIwMIAJDr
— Boston Antifa🌹 (@AntifaBoston) September 14, 2017
One of the four said Black Lives Matter inspired the protest, and expressed surprise that there was confusion about the message.
“I guess we should have seen that coming, but we also didn’t think of it as an ambiguous message,” the person told CSN New England. “It’s kind of telling that it is being interpreted as one.”
The group released a statement that said, “We want to remind everyone that just as baseball is fundamental to American culture and history, so too is racism. White people need to wake up to this reality before white supremacy can truly be dismantled. We urge anyone who is interested in learning more or taking action to contact their local racial justice organization.”
Slow your roll.
Yes, there are white supremacists in this country. But their numbers are few and their influence is nil. And please, stop blaming all white people for the actions of a very few.
The Boston Globe spoke to David Ryan, a Red Sox fan whose seat at Fenway the group asked to borrow so they could hang their sign.
“They hung it out there and all the boos came in. We said, ‘That can’t be good,’ ” said Ryan. “We’re vets. We don’t want no (bull) out there. So I asked (one of the women in the group) at least three times clearly, ‘What does the sign say?’ She wouldn’t even turn her head to look at me. I said, ‘That’s cowardly. You won’t even tell me what it says.’ ”
Our thoughts exactly.
Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts, who is black, said of the sign, “There’s no place for that. That’s for another day, though.”
More background for this story: Boston, justifiably or not, has the reputation of being a racist town, and the Red Sox, largely because they did not have any black players on their roster until 1959 – 12 years after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier – are often put in a racist historical context. In fact, John Henry, who now owns the team, wants to change the name of Yawkey Way, the street outside Fenway Park, to distance the organization for its founder, Thomas Yawkey.’
Said Ryan, “I’m just tired of hearing the racism tag over Fenway Park and Boston in general.”
Red Sox fans we are not, but we feel you, Mr. Ryan.