Adam Jones said he was racially abused by a fan at Fenway Park on Monday night. The Baltimore Orioles center fielder said he was called the N-word multiple times and had a bag of peanuts thrown in his direction. The Boston Red Sox apologized.
Former Red Sox great Curt Schilling, as he often does, took a different tact Thursday on his Breitbart Radio Network periscope.
"I don’t believe the story, given the world we live in. I don’t believe it, for this reason: Everybody is starving and hungry to sit in front of a camera and talk and be social justice warriors. And if a fan yelled loud enough in center field for Adam Jones to hear the N-word, I guarantee you we would’ve heard and seen fans around on CNN on MSNBC, they would’ve found multiple fans to talk about what a racist piece of junk Boston is . . . . . . I spent most of my adult life in baseball parks. I heard the N-word out of my black teammates’ mouths about 100 million times. For somebody to talk loud enough for Adam Jones to hear the N-word in center field, other people would have heard it. If somebody did say it, we’re going to see it and hear about it, and I would apologize to Adam Jones for doubting him, but until then, I think this is bulls–t. I think this is somebody creating a situation.”"
That Schilling studied the available evidence, which includes corroboration of Jones’ story from a fan seated near the offender, and walked away with an opinion that fits neatly with his worldview is unsurprising. His comments stopped being disappointing on a human level long ago.
Schilling cited some of Jones’ previous quotes about the lack support for Colin Kaepernick’s protest in Major League Baseball to bolster his take.
"“So I posted (Wednesday) night, I questioned whether this event actually happened. Because Adam Jones is the same guy who, unasked, last year came out and said that baseball is a white man’s sport. … I don’t know what the point was. OK, football is a black man’s sport, basketball is a black man’s sport, hockey is a white man’s sport. So what? What does that mean? Are you saying that the sport is racist? Because I can tell you, being a six- or seven-billion dollar a year industry, that’s not how it works. If you can play, you play.”"
Do I know for certain that Jones is telling the truth? No. Do I think that Schilling’s predictable first reaction — accusing Jones of lying in the interest of pushing for social justice — is a flagrant show of of disrespect? Yes.
Approaching incidents like this with healthy skepticism is fine. But there’s something so unsettling about Schilling saying he’ll apologize to Jones for doubting him should “evidence” emerge in one breath and then saying it’s all bull— in the next.
Choosing a course of action that doesn’t require profound retroactive apology is always an option.
There’s something painful about watching a human being open up about being treated with a lack of compassion and then being treated with a lack of compassion.
ESPN’s Bomani Jones routinely points out that many people react stronger to being called a racist than actual racism. It’s such a salient point and never more on display than when you see someone doing mental gymnastics to avoid the truly upsetting problem in lieu of one that makes them slightly uncomfortable. So don’t hold your breath waiting for Schilling’s apology.
It hasn’t come yet despite the fact the Boston Red Sox believe an incident happened, there is third-party corroboration, and the team banned a fan for life after he used racially abusive language on Tuesday night, 24 hours after Jones’ levied his accusations.
Schilling sees what he wants to see and doesn’t hear what he doesn’t want to hear. Predictable.