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Boston Red Sox Under Fire For Multiple Claims Of Racism And Sexual Abuse

Former Major League Baseball All-star Torii Hunter recently made a public statement claiming to be called the N-word “a hundred times” anytime he played at Fenway Park in Boston. Hunter stated that the city of Boston in general has a major racism problem, but he also received a massive amount of racially charged hate from within the industry as well. 

The Red Sox were quick to release a statement backing up Hunter’s claims and stated that they promised to fight racism from the inside. The Red Sox also added that there have been at least seven incidents cited within the past year alone that involved fans using racial slurs against players or rival fans. 

“Torii Hunter’s experience is real. And it’s not only players. It happens to the dedicated Black employees who work for us on game days. As we identify how we can do better, please know we are listening.”

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However, many individuals were quick to point out that the Boston Red Sox specifically have a long history of hearing claims of misconduct from black people working for them to no avail. The biggest example being the fact that there are more than a dozen black men who have made multiple claims over the past several years that they were sexually abused by former Red Sox clubhouse manager Donald Fitzpatrick. 

Fitzpatrick died back in 2005, but before that pleaded guilty to criminal charges of attempted sexual battery in 2002. During the trial Fitzpatrick admitted to using Red Sox memorabilia to lure young, black clubhouse workers into hidden areas of the training facility where he would then abuse them. Since 2002 a large number of men stepped forward to not only show their support for the victims, but allege that they were abused by Fitzpatrick as well. Many of the claims, however, dated all the way back to the 80’s and 90’s, making it difficult to bring those charges to trial. 

One of the largest controversies that came from that case regarded how many members of the team/working closely with the team knew about the alleged abuse, and how many worked to cover it up. Gerald Armstrong, 65, has been adamant that he believes multiple individuals not only knew about it, but let it happen continuously; “You can’t tell me that you can have 30 or 40 guys traveling around with him and observing his behavior and not know what he was doing,” Armstrong claimed. 

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Now, there’s been a large call-to-action placed on the city of Boston and the Red Sox to not make the same mistakes they made in the early 2000’s, and actually work to make systemic change within the type of individuals allowed to work for/around players and other black employees. 

The Red Sox in general have a fairly racist history as well, being the last team in the MLB to integrate black players back in 1959. Just two years ago the team was finally able to remove Tom Yawkey’s name from the street that runs alongside Fenway Park; Yawkey is the former Sox owner who made the decisions when it came to integrating the team. 

Separating from the racist and abusive past will be difficult for the Red Sox, however, Armstrong and Hunter believe that being so public about this misconduct during a time where America is reckoning itself for its multitude of racist systems, will be inspiring. 

“I think a lot of black men have been molested and for cultural reasons they just don’t come forward to deal with it. And if you don’t deal with it, you’re looking at a lot of emotional problems.”

Armstrong is encouraging all black people, and specifically men who were victims of abuse themselves, to take ownership of their lives and work to overcome that shame and embarrassment that predators like Fitzpatrick instill in them.