The Boston Red Sox, the last team in Major League Baseball to integrate, owned up to another ugly chapter in the their past on Wednesday.
Former all-star outfielder Torii Hunter recently said in an ESPN interview that he was “called the N-word in Boston 100 times. Little kids, with their parents right next to them. … That’s why I had a no-trade clause to Boston in every contract I had.”
The Red Sox acknowledged the facts in a Twitter post, writing, “Torii Hunter’s experience is real. If you doubt him because you’ve never heard it yourself, take it from us, it happens.
“Last year, there were 7 reported incidents at Fenway Park where fans used racial slurs. Those are just the ones we know about.
“And it’s not only players. It happens to the dedicated Black employees who work for us on game days. Their uniforms may be different, but their voices and experiences are just as important.
“We are … committed to using our platform to amplify the many voices who are calling out injustice.
“There are well-established consequences for fans who use racial slurs and hate speech in our venue, and we know we have more work to do. This small group of fans does not represent who we are, but are rather a reflection of larger systemic issues that as an organization we need to address.
“True change starts from within, and as we identify how we can do better, please know that we are listening.”
Hunter replied to the Red Sox’s tweet, writing, “Change starts now. Much love!” The message was followed by emojis in a variety of skin tones.
Hunter, 44, played in the major leagues from 1997-2015, making five All-Star teams and winning nine Gold Gloves and two Silver Sluggers. He played 12 years for the Minnesota Twins, five for the Los Angeles Angels and two for the Detroit Tigers.
The Red Sox didn’t have a black player until Pumpsie Green joined the team in July 1959, more than 12 years after Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier.