BOSTON - As of midday Tuesday, the Red Sox were still trying to learn more about racist comments Orioles center fielder Adam Jones said were made to him Monday. Team president Sam Kennedy said in an interview on WEEI that he was going to meet with Orioles representatives as well as Jones to discuss the situation further.
“The truth is we don’t know who said what,” Kennedy said on the Ordway, Merloni and Fauria program. “It’s hard to identify individuals when you have a sports venue with thousands and thousands of people. But again, we feel accountable and feel terrible that something like this could happen at Fenway.
“This is not reflective of Boston, Fenway Park and the Red Sox organization and it’s unfortunate the actions of one individual or a couple individuals can create an atmosphere like this it's very frustrating.”
MORE ON ADAM JONES INCIDENT
- Orioles' Jones says Fenway fans used racist terms, threw peanut bag at him
- Red Sox release statement apologizing
- Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker condemn incident
Jones told USA Today Monday that in addition to being called the n-word at Fenway Park, he also had a bag of peanuts was also thrown at him. Kennedy confirmed the peanut-throwing incident on WEEI.
“Last night when the guy threw the peanuts, what I was told by our security was the bag of peanuts actually hit — it sounds like it was directed at Adam Jones — and it actually hit a member of the Boston Police Department and he dealt with it immediately and dealt with it with our security and got the guy ejected,” Kennedy said.
There were 34 ejections at the ballpark total, Kennedy said, noting the average number of ejections is 12-15.
“Twenty of them were related to alcohol incidents, two were marijuana, one was the peanut thrower, one was language, profane language directed at a player. I’m not sure which player,” Kennedy said. “There was some fan-on-fan fighting. And there were seven folks jumping over seats. It was a high level of ejections, but the reports did not specifically reference racial taunting.
“However, I want to be very clear that is not the point. We take Adam Jones at his word and that is unacceptable for what happened. And we’re going to take steps to address it…We’re going to meet with our players later today, just to make sure that they know we take this very seriously and we have a responsibility to make sure we’re doing everything in our power as a front office to ensure that Fenway is a place where our fans and our players feel safe.
“If Adam Jones felt unsafe at any point during last night’s game, or any of our players ever feel that way, it’s our job to step up and take measures to correct that.”
The Red Sox are adding security personnel and re-emphasizing stadium policies to employees as well as fans, Kennedy said. It was not immediately clear how many more personnel would be added or for what period of time.
Racist comments from fans at Fenway Park isn’t something that is often formally reported.
“We have not had a lot of incidents,” Kennedy said. “I did look into that specific question. One or two incidents over the last year where there was offensive language not directed at a player. I think it was one of our staff members. But that’s not the point. If Adam Jones felt unsafe and the words were directed at him, that’s unacceptable.”
Later in the interview, Kennedy acknowledged the obvious, that the team’s records don’t reflect every incident that happens.
“There have been incidents in our 15 years here that — where fans have been ejected for using inappropriate language, including racial slurs,” Kennedy said. “I am not going to tell you that I know for a fact what slur or at what player. That would involve going back 15 years. I would say it is not a prevalent issue that has happened a lot.
“I would also tell you that doesn’t mean we have records or every single incident. It is impossible when you have 37,000 fans in a ballpark or a stadium or an arena to be able to hear every single thing that gets said. Again, we take Adam at his word and we’re trying to deal with it the best we possibly can. It’s a really unfortunate thing for this to happen.”
Kennedy said fans are always encouraged to contact game staff and that a text line is set up 23215 — use keyword “security” — if fans don’t want to reach out in person.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred on Tuesday put out a statement in support of Jones:
“The racist words and actions directed at Adam Jones at Fenway Park last night are completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated at any of our ballparks,” Manfred said. “My office has been in contact with the Red Sox, and the club has made it clear that they will not tolerate this inexcusable behavior. Our 30 clubs will continue to work with fans and security to provide a family-friendly environment. Any individual who behaves in such offensive fashion will be immediately removed from the ballpark and subject to further action.
“The behavior of these few ignorant individuals does not reflect the millions of great baseball fans who attend our games.”