During Wednesday’s Red Sox game in Boston’s Fenway Park, a banner suddenly appeared over the Green Monster stating: “Racism is as American as Baseball.”
A group of five white people have since come forward to take responsibility. While not giving their names, group members have given interviews to various sports outlets to say their intention with the sign is to “have a conversation” about racism in Boston, an “extremely segregated city,” one member told TheScore.com.
The group has also denied claims that the leftist group Antifa was involved in the planning.
“The five of us are in no way associated with Antifa nor did Antifa Boston have anything to do with the action,” one of the group’s members wrote via text to CSNNE on Wednesday night. As proof, they sent CSNNE an image of the banner before and after the Fenway Park reveal, when it was being unfurled as a test, and again early this morning.
The group member agreed to explain to CSNNE how the night unfolded, but only on the condition of anonymity, because they did not want to detract from the importance they see in the banner’s message.
Via Comcast Sports Network: New England (CSNNE):
Two people documented the night — one from afar and one from up close — while three people held the banner. The banner was unfurled in the middle of the fourth inning before stadium security quickly intervened.
“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 by phone. “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 Black Lives Matter movement was one of the group’s inspirations.
The banner’s intended message didn’t make it across to everyone clearly, however. On social media, some people thought the banner was promoting racism. Others simply noted ambiguity.
The group was somewhat surprised by the confusion.
“I guess we should have seen that coming, but we also didn’t think of it as an ambiguous message,” the group member said. “It’s kind of telling that it is being interpreted as one.”
In a statement explaining Wednesday’s ejection of four people from the park, the Red Sox said the banner was “in violation of the club’s policy prohibiting signs of any kind to be hung or affixed to the ballpark.”
The ejection of four people rather than five was because of the fifth group member’s distance inside the stadium. The fifth left on their own volition.
Fenway security personnel handled the matter professionally, looked at the group’s IDs and then released them, the group member said. One person walked up to the group as IDs were being checked and demanded the group be arrested.
“People booed us as we walked out, asking us to find something better to do,” they said.
A statement on behalf of the group was later emailed to CSNNE by the group member.
“We want to remind everyone that just as baseball is fundamental to American culture and history, so too is racism,” the group said in a written statement. “White people need to wake up to this reality before white supremacy can truly be dismantled. We urge anyone who is interested in learning more or taking action to contact their local racial justice organization.”
(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
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