Adam Jones’ tweets about having a banana thrown at him Sunday by a fan at AT&T Park have made the incident a national topic of conversation, and the Giants today issued an apology to the Orioles center fielder. (If you missed any of the details click the link above.)
Here’s a sampling of what some outside media outlets have written about the incident:
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David Brown of Yahoo’s “Big League Stew” blog wrote that Sunday’s episode is another example that racism hasn’t completely escaped baseball – or our country.
“Just last week, a statue of Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese in Brooklyn was vandalized with racist slurs and Hitler references,” he wrote. “It was another reminder — like we needed one — that ‘post-racial America’ is a fairytale until further notice.
A statue, made of stone, is bad enough. But Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles is a person, and what happened to him at AT&T Park on Sunday was just as unacceptable.”
As a number of others have pointed out, Brown notes that the situation with Jones is similar to what happened to Philadelphia Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds two years ago.
“Worse than graffiti, what happened to Simmonds and Jones is tantamount to being spat upon, with an added insult of racism,” Brown continued in his post today. “In 2013, such behavior cannot be tolerated.”
Joe Eskenazi of SF Weekly had some pointed words toward the Giants’ fan base and how this incident might impact their reputation.
“The demeanor of AT&T Park fans hasn't always pleased opposing players -- but, in the past, the alleged misbehavior has been a sort San Francisco could smirk about,” Eskenazi wrote.
During the 2010 World Series, Texas outfielder Josh Hamilton bemoaned the cloud of marijuana smoke emanating from the stands (and the city writ large). …
If Jones' allegation is true, however, Giants fans would be far from the playful stoners depicted in the days of yore, but find themselves lumped in with the world's most hateful and ignorant racists.”
Another San Francisco writer, Casey Pratt of Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, blogged about the banana incident being the worst of a weekend at AT&T Park that “bordered on the absurd.”
Travis Waldron of the political blog ThinkProgress.org wrote that racist acts like these are far less common in American sports, compared to other places in the world, but he says that’s not a reason to think racism doesn’t exist.
Banana-throwing is still maddeningly common in sports like European soccer,” he writes, “but such explicit displays of racist behavior are largely absent from American games now. That’s obviously a good thing, but while we can’t stop every idiot fan who wants to do something stupid, we also shouldn’t allow the rarity of incidents like this to obscure the fact that racism toward black athletes still manifests itself in different ways quite often. After Jones tweeted about the incident, for instance, Twitter users questioned whether it was racially motivated or if it was just regular heckling, as if bananas are common ballpark cuisine along the lines of beer, sunflower seeds, and peanuts. Other black athletes have faced similar backlash on social media, where the n-word is still aimed at them in depressingly common fashion: after he scored a game-winning goal in the playoffs two years ago, fans showered NHL player Joel Ward with the racial slurs.”
Check back to Orioles Insider for more reaction after the O’s clubhouse opens in Arizona.