A group of self-described anti-racist protesters were escorted from Fenway Park on Wednesday night after draping a banner over the Green Monster that read ‘Racism is as American as baseball.’
Evan Drellich of Comcast SportsNet New England was among the first to provide an image of the banner and to report that the protesters had been removed by Fenway Park security.
Security quickly confiscated the banner and removed those holding it. pic.twitter.com/b8xjLBW8O5
— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) September 14, 2017
Drellich also caught up with the group’s planner, who wished to remain anonymous, to get an explanation of the message they were hoping to send and why they used baseball as the forum.
“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. “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.”
The group member cited the Black Lives Matter movement as an inspiration for their message, and hope that by speaking out now more people will have an understanding of the message they hoped to send.
The group unraveled its banner and draped it over on the Green Monster in left field after the top of the fourth inning. The banner reportedly hung in place for the duration of the between inning warm ups before security arrived and removed it. The game was briefly delayed while security handled the situation.
According to ESPN’s Marly Rivera, third base umpire Joe West coordinated the banner’s removal with assistance from Boston police officials and Fenway Park security.
Umpire Joe West got together with Boston police officials and park security to have the fans who held up this sign removed from Fenway pic.twitter.com/EZYo94WqMR
— Marly Rivera (@MarlyRiveraESPN) September 14, 2017
The game has since continued without any further delays or protests.
As the group member mentioned, Fenway Park has been at the center of the race issue in the recent past. Earlier this season Red Sox pitcher David Price and Orioles outfielder Adam Jones have both claimed to have had racial slurs hurled at them from the Fenway Park stands.
The Red Sox have also discussed changing the name of Yawkey Way outside the ballpark because of racial issues that occurred during Tom Yawkey’s time as Red Sox owner.
Major League Baseball and the Boston Red Sox have yet to comment on the banner.
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