Orioles' John Angelos provides a strong anti-racist statement on Adam Jones Red Sox racism incident to The Nation

City Paper

On Monday evening, Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones had a bag of peanuts thrown at him and was called a "nigger" by Boston Red Sox fans at Fenway Park. During the game, MASN didn't mention it although Red Sox security and Boston police were looking for the culprit during the game and Jones can be seen pumping his fist to the Red Sox fans later on after he made a particularly spectacular play.

After the game though, Jones spoke to USA Today about the Red Sox fans' racism ("It's unfortunate that people need to resort to those type of epithets to degrade another human being. I’m trying to make a living for myself and for my family") and by the next day, the president of the Red Sox, the mayor of Boston, the governor of Massachusetts, and the commissioner of Major League Baseball all commented, condemning the actions.

The comments showed the ways in which people in power contort themselves to condemn while hedging a bit here and there, so as to, well, not offend racists too much. Everybody other than the Governor of Massachusetts invoked racism explicitly at least, though MLB commish Robert Manfred Jr.'s statement was the most frustrating.

Manfred Jr.'s statement ended with, "the behavior of these few ignorant individuals does not reflect the millions of great baseball fans who attend our games." This kind of "not all fans" statement was not a surprise and is precisely what officials do to condemn racism while comforting other white fans. What is missing from all of the comments, especially Manfred Jr.'s, is a sense of the scope of the problems and what it represents beyond baseball.

Enter Orioles Executive Vice President John Angelos, who provided a statement to sportswriter Dave Zirin of the Nation that connected the incident to the larger issues of racism and white supremacy in the country and the uptick in hate post-Trump. You can read the whole statement by clicking below but I'll quote a nice chunk: "Whether acted out in the seats of sporting events or from various seats of power and whether open and physical or secretive and administrative in the way they are expressed, we in the majority who are not racists and who oppose the intent of these racist offenders and their tyrannical movements and initiatives that clearly seek to divide all of us as they insult and degrade some of us must not merely passively and politely disagree with these offensive individuals and philosophical movements and the putrid hate-mongering and American Dream-stealing racism, exceptionalism, and nativism that they espouse..."

For those who don't remember, Angelos has made it his habit to call this shit out. During the Baltimore Uprising, Angelos, along with Buck Showalter and Jones himself, commented on the protests and injustice.

"The innocent working families of all backgrounds whose lives and dreams have been cut short by excessive violence, surveillance, and other abuses of the Bill of Rights by government pay the true price, and ultimate price, and one that far exceeds the importances of any kids' game played tonight, or ever, at Camden Yards," Angelos said back then.

Later on in 2015, Angelos appeared on Zirin's podcast right as the trials for the officers charged with Freddie Gray's death went to trial and commented on the trial, along with the Syrian refugee crisis, and deindustrialization. It's a compelling listen.

I'd also recommend checking out this lecture Zirin gave at Baltimore Community College two days after the April 27 rioting and four days after violence happened during a march in front of Camden Yards and CP reporter/photographer Reginald Thomas II's piece from last year, "Wild Card: Life in a white man's sport," about being a black baseball fan.

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