As America confronts racism in its society following the murder of George Floyd, Torii Hunter is speaking up about his own experience.
The former outfielder told ESPN's "Golic and Wingo" recently that he experienced repeated racial abuse from fans at Boston's Fenway Park during games against the Red Sox, to the point where he listed Boston in the no-trade clauses of his contracts.
Hunter expanded on those comments Tuesday during an appearance on WEEI's "The Greg Hill Show," explaining that while he heard racist taunts at many MLB ballparks, he heard them far more in Boston.
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"When I went to Boston it was so consistent," Hunter said. "It has nothing to do with the Red Sox. It has nothing to do with the players. It has nothing to do with the organization. It really has nothing to do with the fans. But that's the issue when you hear that."
Hunter recalled a specific instance when "four or five" kids chanted the "N-word" at him during a game at Fenway. What disturbed him most was that no one in the stands asked the kids to stop.
"When I heard 'N-word, N-word' just chanting my name and I looked at these grown-ups and they are clapping and laughing," Hunter said. "I'm pointing saying, 'Tell them to shut up. That's bad.'
" ... So when I looked at the grown-ups and they didn't do anything, that's not a Red Sox issue. That's an issue in society."
Hunter confirmed experiences like these led him to include a no-trade clause to Boston despite admittedly wanting to play for the Red Sox.
"I love Boston. I wanted to play there. It just hit me that I can't have my wife and my kids in this area," Hunter said.
The 44-year-old also clarified he wasn't making generalizations about Red Sox fans as a whole, but wanted to shed light on the pervasive racism that exists in America today.
"These kids are now probably grown," Hunter said. "They are probably CEOs of companies. They are probably the head of something. And I can imagine these kids doing things to people of my skin color and mistreating them. That comes from the heart. Anything that comes out your mouth comes from the heart. ... That's a deep-rooted issue and that's a family issue. It has nothing to do with the Red Sox."
The Red Sox's lone Black player, center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr., recently tweeted at Hunter and outfielder Adam Jones -- who also has experienced racist taunts at Fenway Park -- thanking them for being mentors.
I definitely have appreciated both of y'all's leadership and advice along the way 💯— Jackie Bradley Jr. (@JackieBradleyJr) June 7, 2020