The day after Baltimore Orioles player Adam Jones was the subject of racist abuse and insults at Fenway Park, Boston Red Sox fans turned the tide by giving the center fielder a standing ovation.
The athlete dipped his helmet in response to the cheers and applause as he stepped up to bat Tuesday evening.
Afterwards, Jones told the Baltimore Sun that the gesture was “much appreciated.”
“I said before it was much appreciated by Boston Red Sox and MLB getting ahead of it, just appreciative that action was taken and that not everybody feels the same as selected people,” he said. “It was much appreciated. [Red Sox pitcher Chris] Sale, who works extremely fast, took his time and let it relish a little bit, so I appreciate the sentiments.”
Jones, one of just 62 African-American players on Opening Day rosters this year, said that the heckling at Fenway on Monday was among the worst experiences in his 12 years in Major League Baseball.
“A disrespectful fan threw a bag of peanuts at me,” he said after Monday’s game, according to USA Today. “I was called the N-word a handful of times tonight. Thanks. Pretty awesome.”
Afterwards, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker condemned the actions of the fans, tweeting, “Fenway fans behavior at the #RedSox game last night was unacceptable & shameful. This is not what Massachusetts & Boston are about.”
The Red Sox also issued a statement about the incident, and apologized to Jones and his team.
“No player should have an object thrown at him on the playing field, nor be subjected to any kind of racism at Fenway Park,” the statement said. “The Red Sox have zero tolerance for such inexcusable behavior, and our entire organization and our fans are sickened by the conduct of an ignorant few. Such conduct should be reported immediately to Red Sox security, and any spectator behaving in this manner forfeits his/her right to remain in the ballpark, and may be subject to further action.”
Since the incident, other MLB players have come forward to discuss racism they experienced while playing in Boston.
New York Yankees pitcher C.C. Sabathia said he’s “never been called the N-word” anywhere but in Boston, according to ESPN.
“We know. There’s 62 of us. We all know. When you go to Boston, expect it,” Sabathia told reporters. “I’m glad that [Jones] spoke up and said something about it. I think it’s disgusting.”