The Baltimore Orioles and Adam Jones will tell you about Boston fans. Now in general, Fenway Park has some of the best fans you’ll find in any sport. But there are exceptions to every rule. And many of those exceptions happen to come in Boston sports events.
On Sunday a Kansas City Chiefs player scored a touchdown in their game against the New England Patriots. The player ran out of the endzone and towards the stands, where he was flipped the bird. While vulgar, it’s probably not over-the-line for fans at a game. What is over-the-line however is what came with the flipping of the bird…
…the player had beer thrown on him. By a fan. Yes, you read that right (if you hadn’t already heard the story). A fan actually threw beer on a player. Maybe I’m cut from a different cloth than some people, but I’d never do that to someone. If someone did it to me I’d view it as akin to throwing a first punch.
There’s no circumstance in which this is EVER acceptable. But it’s not the first time Boston sports fans have shown this ugly side of themselves. As I said, for the most part the fans at Fenway Park are some of the best in the business. But we all remember the situation last year in which Adam Jones dealt with racial slurs in the outfield.
Again, there are lines you don’t cross. Telling an opposing player that they’re no good or have no business being on the field is one thing. Right or not, that’s part of what professional athletes sign up for. It’s part of the job. But racial slurs are well over the line. And again, that happened in the same city that threw beer at an opponent last night.
On top of that, Joel Ward (an African-American) of the Washington Capitals had a similar experience to Jones when he scored the series-winning goal to defeat the Boston Bruins in a playoff series a few years ago. As stand-alone incidents each one of these are unacceptable. But put them together, and it speaks to a louder problem. Whether anyone chooses to admit it or not, Boston may have a race problem.
So should opposing players fear playing there? The Orioles are about to have a lot of young players; what are they to think? The best and only way to address this is for the decent fans of Boston to police the situation. If they see something, they need to say something. And that goes for all cities – including Baltimore for that matter. Am I suggesting that people should rat out their own when it comes to these types of things? That’s exactly what I’m saying.