Those in attendance to see the Boston Red Sox take on the Oakland A’s yesterday at Fenway Park sure got an eyeful, and it had nothing to do with the action on the field.
As per Bleacher Report, several fans were removed from their seats and a banner they were holding, which displayed the phrase “Racism is as American as baseball,” was confiscated. The individuals in question opted for maximum visibility during this stunt, draping the black-and-white banner over part of the legendary Green Monster, part of the bleachers that overlooks left field. After the fact, the Red Sox released the following statement: “During the fourth inning of tonight’s game, four fans unfurled a banner over the left field wall in violation of the club’s policy prohibiting signs of any kind to be hung or affixed to the ballpark. The individuals involved were escorted out of Fenway Park.”
According to an exchange with CSN reporter Evan Drellich, one of the planners behind the banner says it was intended to be an anti-racism message:
“There were originally about eight people involved who had this idea, and those eight people come from various organizing groups in the Boston area. Mostly groups that affiliate with racial justice causes. And the banner came in response to the racist comments at the beginning of the season at Fenway [that Adam Jones spoke of].”
“But 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. It has been for a long time, and that no white people can avoid the history of racism, essentially. So we did this banner as a gesture towards that, to have a conversation about that.”
Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts told reporters that “there’s no place for that,” before cutting his thought short of its ending. Boston police also worked in conjunction with stadium security personnel to remove the banner and those behind it from the Fenway grounds. After Jemele Hill‘s dust-up with the White House administration, it seems as though political advocacy has seeped into the very fabric of sports conversation in the United States.