Fenway Park, the home field of the Boston Red Sox, should be shut down to fans in the aftermath of the Adam Jones N-word incident.
That’s the recommendation of ESPN Pardon the Interruption co-host Michael Wilbon.
During Monday night’s game, Baltimore Orioles center fielder Adam Jones says that a fan in the bleachers shouted the N-word at him several times and also threw a bag of peanuts at him.
The Red Sox and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, along with MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, condemned the incident, which was perhaps the No. 1 story in sports media for the last couple of days, resulting in Boston being seemingly branded as a racist city.
The Red Sox apologized to Jones, who received a standing ovation Tuesday night from Red Sox fans at Fenway when he came up to bat for the first time.
The team is investigating the incident and also vowed to prevent any repetition of this kind of behavior from occurring in the stadium again.
In the meantime, the Red Sox and Orioles are still feuding over the spiking of Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia by Manny Machado and the subsequent beaning of O’s third baseman Machado.
A column by Mike Lupica reported that a local high school senior supposedly witnessed the offender who appeared to be drunk dropping the N-bomb. No cell phone video or other witnesses have apparently surfaced at this writing, however. The offender was ejected from the stadium in the seventh inning, according to the teen.
In a discussion with longtime co-host Tony Kornheiser about the Fenway Park incident, PTI‘s Michael Wilbon expressed outrage about how Jones was treated and called for extreme measures.
“What the hell is this? 1947? Is that what this is? Adam Jones has to be Jackie Robinson, and he has to have stuff thrown at him because he doesn’t look like the people throwing the stuff in the stands? Is that what we’re talking about? Then shut the stadiums down. Do like they do in Europe when they have incidents like this because of racist acts or violence and they say, ‘You know what? We’re having a closed door game.’ Then no fans.”… If you want to tell me all of the time about being ‘Boston Strong,’ then be strong enough and advocate that you can’t have this. Be strong enough to have zero tolerance for this kind of behavior in your stadium and in public places.”
The reference to Boston Strong is a callback to the aftermath of the 2013 Boston Marathon terrorist bombings.
Kornheiser seemed skeptical about Adam Jones’ idea of fining offenders $20,000-plus for yelling out racial slurs at a player, suggesting that the sanction would be unlikely to hold up in court. “If you can’t fine them, then just say no; they’ll be no one in the stands,” Wilbon responded.
In the exchange, Wilbon recalled that the Boston Garden, the home of the NBA Boston Celtics, is the only public place where someone called him the N-word.
According to an insider, MLB is reportedly considering additional steps that might be implemented to root out this kind of misconduct, Fox Business reported.
“The league’s 30 teams will be asked for their recommendations on how to improve security and the overall stadium experience, such as harsher penalties or stadium bans for fans that misbehave or use inappropriate language, the source added. As of now, there is no timetable for when the discussions will conclude or how quickly any changes will be enacted.”
Several hosts on Boston sports radio station WEEI remain skeptical about what might have happened Monday night at Fenway Park as does a Massachusetts-based website called Turtleboy Sports, which cast doubt on the teen’s account and also claims that Adam Jones embellished the story about hecklers “by adding a racial slur to an already animated baseball rivalry.”
Watch this space for updates on the Adam Jones N-word incident at Fenway Park.
[Featured Image by Susan Walsh/AP Images]