BOSTON -- A day after the Red Sox vowed to have a zero-tolerance policy regarding racial taunts in the stands, club president Sam Kennedy detailed one concrete step that the team has already taken.In heartfelt comments to reporters during Wednesday night's 4-2 Boston win against the Orioles, Kennedy detailed an
BOSTON -- A day after the Red Sox vowed to have a zero-tolerance policy regarding racial taunts in the stands, club president Sam Kennedy detailed one concrete step that the team has already taken.
In heartfelt comments to reporters during Wednesday night's 4-2 Boston win against the Orioles, Kennedy detailed an incident in the stands at Fenway that resulted in a fan being permanently banned from the ballpark.
The club announced the ban in a statement shortly before Kennedy discussed the situation. The development came on the heels of Orioles outfielder Adam Jones revealing that he had been the subject of racial taunts on Monday night at Fenway.
As Tuesday's game was about to start, one fan uttered a racial slur to another fan regarding the performance of the national anthem, which was sung by a woman from Kenya.
"Yes, it was a racial comment," Kennedy said. "It was a racial comment used to describe the national anthem that was taking place, the performance of the national anthem. It was sickening to hear."
Kennedy hopes that the swift action the Red Sox have taken regarding this matter will minimize similar instances going forward.
"I'm here to send a message loud and clear that the behavior, the language, the treatment of others that you've heard about and read about is not acceptable," said Kennedy. "It's not acceptable to the Red Sox. It's not acceptable to John Henry, Tom Werner, or any of the men and women that work here."
It saddened Kennedy that such an incident could occur just two days after Jones not only was subject to verbal abuse at Fenway, but also had a bag of peanuts thrown at him by another spectator.
"Yesterday, I think I was angered, frustrated, and today I feel more a sense of sadness," Kennedy said. "Just deep remorse that these things happen in our society. But it's the reality of the world that we live in and it's incumbent upon those of us in leadership positions to deal with them, tackle them head on, address them and work together to try and stamp them out so that they don't happen again."
While speaking about the Jones incident on Tuesday, Kennedy urged fans to report any poor behavior that occurs in the stands.
"I want to thank the fan who raised this issue, who did exactly what we asked the fans to do yesterday while all this was going on," Kennedy said. "As soon as they felt uncomfortable, and they heard inappropriate and offensive language, they went right to an usher, and to our security, Boston police, and this issue was dealt with swiftly and effectively by our team here.
"And I'm really proud of that. And I'm really grateful to the fan who dealt with this issue exactly as you would want them to. And hopefully this is a step forward, and in a crazy way, maybe something very positive can come of this and we can continue this conversation in baseball and in society.
"And the Red Sox, I know I speak on behalf of John and Tom and the people I work with, we want to be a leader in this topic. We want to be at the forefront of this discussion, to try and improve in this area."
Kennedy, who has been with the Red Sox since 2002, said this is the first time he can remember a fan being banned from Fenway.
"I can remember an incident when someone threw a beer at Gary Sheffield [in 2005], and that person was banned I believe it was for one year. But this person has been told that they're no longer welcome at Fenway Park, period," said Kennedy.
The statement released by the Red Sox regarding Tuesday's incident reads as follows:
"During Tuesday night's Red Sox-Orioles game, it was reported to Red Sox security that a racial slur was used in a comment from one fan to another fan. The offending individual was promptly ejected from the ballpark, and has since been notified they are no longer welcome at Fenway Park.
"The Red Sox organization will not tolerate the use of racial slurs at Fenway Park, and we have apologized to those affected. There is no place for racial epithets at Fenway Park, in baseball, or in our society. The Red Sox have turned the matter over to the Boston Police Department, who will further investigate with their civil rights unit and determine whether it merits further action."
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.