During Wednesday’s game at Fenway Park, a group of fans unfurled a banner above the Green Monster that read “Racism is as American as Baseball.” Security personnel confiscated the banner, and ejected four fans from the ballpark.
Most media reports indicate that the banner, which was revealed in the middle of the fourth inning, was displayed for just a few minutes. Security at Fenway Park quickly responded by confiscating the banner and ejecting multiple fans, though the incident did not lead to any arrests.
The Red Sox issued a statement on the matter, saying that the banner violated an organization policy that prevents signs from being hung or affixed at Fenway Park. More from The Boston Globe:
The sign remained visible for approximately two minutes before security personnel removed both the sign and four people — two men and two women, all roughly between the ages of 25 and 30 – from Fenway Park.
According to a statement issued by the team, four people were removed from Fenway for violating “the club’s policy prohibiting signs of any kind to be hung or affixed to the ballpark.”
A member of the group later clarified the banner’s message and–speaking on the condition of anonymity so as not to detract from the banner’s message–explained why the sign was displayed. More from CSN NE:
“There were originally about eight people involved who had this idea, and those eight people come from various organizing groups in the Boston area,” the group member said by phone. “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.”
CSN NE also reported that a fifth member of the group was inside Fenway Park at the time, but was not ejected because of their distance from the incident. That person reportedly “left on their own volition.”
During a visit to Fenway Park in May, Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones reported that he was subject to racists taunts from fans during a game against the Red Sox. The Red Sox organization issued an apology to Jones, and Jones received an extended ovation from fans Fenway Park the following evening. Additionally, Red Sox owner John Henry expressed a willingness this summer to take former team owner Tom Yawkey’s name off Yawkey Way, given Yawkey’s opposition to integrating the team in the 1940s and 1950s.
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