Shockupy Fenway! Meet the activists behind a daring protest banner
Fans and viewers taking in last night’s Red Sox-Orioles game at Fenway Park were on the receiving end of some uncomfortable activism during the fourth inning:
Fans at Wednesday’s Red Sox-Athletics game in Boston decided to unfurl a controversial banner that read “Racism is as American as baseball,” prompting the umpires to ask security to remove the fans and their banner, according to multiple reports.
It wasn’t clear exactly what message the fans were attempting to share at first, but one of them clarified later to the Boston Globe that it was anti-racism.
“The banner came in response to the racist comments at the beginning of the season at Fenway,” one of the banner holders, who remains unnamed, said, citing the story Orioles star Adam Jones shared in May about getting peanuts thrown at him and being called the N-word on multiple occasions. “Overall, we saw, we see Boston continually priding itself as a kind of liberal, not racist city, and are reminded also constantly that it’s actually an extremely segregated city.
The activists also spoke to WaPo:
“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.”
The NY Times adds:
The protester also said that his group had no connection to the Antifa movement of militant anti-fascists.
The Red Sox this year said that they were eager to change the name of Yawkey Way, a street by the park. It is named for Thomas Yawkey, a former owner of the team when it was the last to integrate, 12 years after Jackie Robinson.
As American Politics Journal‘s Jeff Koopersmith told this writer nearly twenty years ago, “Racism is the United States of America’s original sin, and most Americans will do anything to avoid confronting that sad fact.” The poll numbers certainly back that assessment.
While we suspect few people were moved to change their worldview by last night’s protest, the fact that it has gotten people talking – and addressing baseball’s segregated past and problematic bigot fans who continue to sully the “national pastime” – is a good thing.