Who is responsible for policing racist behavior at sporting events?
Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones is speaking out after he was subjected to racist behavior from fans at Fenway Park, and several other athletes — including LeBron James and Draymond Green — are now sharing similar stories. Jones and Cubs manager Joe Maddon say the responsibility is on teams to better police racist behavior, and propose stiff fines and lifetime bans. But others say it’s on fans to call out racist hecklers and deny them cover. Change starts with individuals. What do you think?
Orioles’ Adam Jones had racist insults and peanuts thrown at him
After the debacle at Fenway Park, Adam Jones is pushing for stiffer penalties and consequences for fans who engage in racist behavior at games. In the year 2017, it should not be acceptable for fans to yell racial epitaphs and hurl peanuts at athletes. The responsibility starts with the teams, who need to crackdown on fans.
“We need to set a precedent now that this will NOT be tolerated and if you are caught breaking this rule – throwing objects onto the field or saying demeaning racial slurs directed to a player – there will be harsh consequences to pay for this behavior.”
Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green says teams need to do a better job of protecting athletes:
“I’ve gotten the N-word, all of that. I’d rather not get into [where]. A few places, especially being that it is me. Athletes are just not protected in that regard. Maybe something like [the Adam Jones incident] will help.”
But former baseball player Marlon Anderson says the core problem is how fans react, or don’t react, when other fans engage in racist behavior. By not shutting it down, fans are essentially condoning racism and thrusting the responsibility on teams and stadium security. People need to learn that racism is not socially acceptable behavior, and that starts with fans speaking out against racism at games.
“The problem is when the people around [a racist fan] and allow him to do it without ostracizing him… It’s the undertone that’s accepted about certain things.”
NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley also took issue with how people reacted in the stands, placing the blame on the cowardice of fans. Barkley thinks people need to speak out, before it even escalates to a security situation. Anyone who just sat there in silence is almost equally at fault. He would’ve never let that happen:
“It should never happen, but I’m disappointed in the fans who was around those people saying those things. If I was in a crowd of people and they were mistreating anybody, I would stand up for the person who was being mistreated.”
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