The Boston Red Sox are trying to get serious about abusive language at Fenway Park. Following an incident where Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones heard racial taunts from fans, the Red Sox released a statement saying they would have a “zero tolerance” policy for “inexcusable behavior” at the park.
The team used its new policy a day later. The Red Sox handed out a lifetime ban to a fan who used a racial slur following the national anthem, which was sung by a Kenyan woman.
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Since the incident, many have wondered how the Red Sox plan to enforce that ban. It’s tough to keep one person out of a baseball stadium, particularly when a team averages over 36,000 fans per game.
While the Red Sox admit the solution isn’t perfect, spokeswoman Zineb Curran told WEEI how the team will prevent that fan from entering the ballpark again.
“We informed this person verbally and in writing, and we’ve also flagged their credit card from being able to purchase tickets from the organization moving forward,” she said. “Key security personnel are aware of who the individual is. What we’re not doing is posting this person’s picture and name at every gate. That’s not something we’re doing. We know this isn’t a perfect or infallible system. And we recognize that enforcing it will be a difficult thing to do. But if the person is willing to take a risk and come back to the ballpark, there are actions that can be taken if they’re caught.”
If the fan is caught back in Fenway, the team can call police and have them arrested for trespassing, according to WEEI.
As expected, the policy does have some flaws. If the fan really wanted to re-enter the park, they could do so. It would involve some workarounds and maybe a disguise, but it’s possible.
There would be risk involved in that decision, though. Trespassing carries a fine of up to $100 and a possible 30-day jail sentence in Boston. If that were to happen, it’s also possible the Red Sox would take more drastic measures, such as making the fan’s picture available to everyone checking tickets.
While the team hasn’t issued any more lifetime bans since this incident, it doesn’t appear it’s a one-time thing. New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia said black players expect to hear racial slurs in Boston. Between that, the Jones situation and the team handing out a lifetime ban, there’s clearly more work to be done here.
No solution is perfect here. While the zero tolerance policy and lifetime ban is a step in the right direction, the Red Sox aren’t going to solve racism. Hateful people will continue to be hateful.
But with the policy in place, the team is cracking down on racially charged language at the park. In a best case scenario, the ban causes individuals to reconsider their life choices. At the very least, it makes watching the game in person a more enjoyable experience, especially for those bringing children to the park.
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