BOSTON -- From the highest levels of ownership to the most prominent corners of the clubhouse, the Red Sox expressed a combination of anger and sadness over the way Orioles center fielder Adam Jones was treated by fans at Fenway Park on Monday night, and pledged to do better in
BOSTON -- From the highest levels of ownership to the most prominent corners of the clubhouse, the Red Sox expressed a combination of anger and sadness over the way Orioles center fielder Adam Jones was treated by fans at Fenway Park on Monday night, and pledged to do better in the future.
The club spent much of Tuesday discussing the situation in several different forums, and searching for ways to eliminate racial taunting moving forward. Fans showed their support for Jones with an ovation during his first at-bat Tuesday. And though Jones wears a Baltimore uniform, Red Sox players took the situation personally.
Mookie Betts, Boston's best all-around player, was in disbelief that Jones was the recipient of racial epithets on Monday.
"It's horrendous," Betts said. "It's 2017 and we're still kind of dealing with that, especially with how integrated everything is. For me to be here, and have Boston represent me, and for me to represent Boston, and to hear something like that going on, that definitely hurts me, really.
"I don't want to be a part of something like that. I don't think anybody does. When we come to the park, we're here to have fun. Heckling is heckling. That's part of the game. But there's a line that doesn't need to be crossed."
Red Sox owner John Henry and team president Sam Kennedy first met with manager John Farrell and eight Boston players, before going to the visitors' clubhouse to apologize directly to Jones in a private meeting in Orioles manager Buck Showalter's office.
"We'll all try to move forward together. It's behavior that should never happen," said Kennedy. "It's a reminder where we are in a society that this type of behavior still happens around the country. It's disappointing, but we have to acknowledge it, take responsibility, accountability, address it and hopefully move forward."
"Not only is it disappointing, I think it's actually despicable that you'd hear someone make a statement, a racist comment, an insensitive one, a slur of ignorance, to be honest with you," said Farrell. "And to think that in 2017 that exists … let's face it, it does and it's unfortunate. We don't tolerate it. There's a zero tolerance towards it in Fenway Park. And furthermore, this is a great city, a great fan base, and to have one or two taint what the perception of our fans might be is really unfortunate. But there's no place for it in my mind."
Jones appreciated the sensitive way the Red Sox and MLB handled the situation.
"I think it was tremendous how the Red Sox, how MLB, they got ahead of it as soon as possible," Jones said. "I am not going to go say all Boston fans [are like that]. My career playing against the Red Sox has been amazing. They support their players. Just things like this, they just don't have a place in the game. I thought we have moved past that a long time ago, but obviously with what is going on in the real world, with things like this, people are outraged and speaking up at an alarming rate. It's unfortunate that I had to be involved in it."
Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. appeared shaken by the situation.
"I was in that same outfield [the same night] A.J. was," said Bradley. "So what made it any different that he was called [a] name, and I wasn't? I don't want that to be something where one person dictates how everyone feels, because it's not the truth. But I feel like that person, if that's really how they feel, then, we should all know who it is.
"If he feels so strongly enough to share that, I feel like his coworkers should know. His family, if they don't already know. It's hurtful. And that kind of action, it will not be tolerated. I just want everyone to show love. I mean, like I said, I was out there, too. [Mookie] was out there, Chris [Young] was out there. There's a lot of us -- and it's not just one race. It's for all races. We want to go out there, play the game that we love and support our families."
Kennedy said 34 fans were ejected from Monday's game for a variety of reasons, including the spectator who threw a bag of peanuts at Jones. The Red Sox are asking for help to try to identify fans who exhibit racially-motivated behavior so that they can take immediate action.
"Our players can help us. We talked a lot about that with our players today. They were terrific in our meeting," said Kennedy. "And the fans. The fans can really help us. If you hear something at Fenway Park that is offensive or makes you feel uncomfortable or unsafe or is inappropriate, please alert a fan service representative, either in person or you can do it through a telephone or text line, even through our ballpark app.
"This is a partnership between our organization and our fans to do everything we can to make Fenway one of the best experiences in all of baseball, which I believe it is. It's unfortunate that one person or a small group of people can create such negativity. It's disappointing."
For Tuesday's game, the Red Sox beefed up their security, particularly in the outfield bleachers.
"We want to make sure that our fans know and the market knows that offensive language, racial taunts, slurs are unacceptable," said Kennedy. "If you do it you're going to be ejected. If you do it you're going to be subject to having your tickets revoked for a year, maybe for life. We're going to look at that. We haven't made any firm decisions but it just can't happen."
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.