The protests taking place around the United States and beyond in response to the death of George Floyd have caused Americans to have real conversations about racism in this country, whether they are comfortable talking about it or not. Racism is ingrained in our society and professional sports are no exception.
African-American baseball players have faced a tough road that began when Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier and was met with genuine hate nearly everywhere he went. It is easy to think all that hate has just faded away into the past. This is obviously not the case, and Torii Hunter reminded us of that when talking about what he dealt with when playing at Fenway Park.
Torii Hunter explained why he had a no-trade clause to Boston throughout his playing career.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 6, 2020
Hunter’s account is tough to read and is honestly sickening. However, we must all address this problem that is not just exclusive to Hunter. Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones addressed the issue in the past and while some Red Sox fans refused to believe him at the time, CC Sabathia backed him up with his own story of how terrible Fenway can be for players of color.
— Neil Desai (@NeilDes00042308) June 6, 2020
This belief that “I didn’t hear it so it doesn’t happen” is flat-out wrong. Former Red Sox hurler David Price even noted how he faced racist taunts while on the team and Jackie Bradley Jr. insinuated the same.
I definitely have appreciated both of y’all’s leadership and advice along the way ?
— Jackie Bradley Jr. (@JackieBradleyJr) June 7, 2020
MLB players having an outlet like social media helps them share experiences related to a problem that clearly isn’t brand new. Hunter, for one, did not want to be traded to the Red Sox and that says a lot about a franchise that was the last team to integrate its roster with black players.
If we’ve learned anything from the George Floyd protests, it’s that we all need to act to eliminate racism in our organizations and, ideally, society as a whole. The Red Sox ought to face the music.