Torii Hunter Had a No-Trade Clause to Boston in Every Contract Because of Racial Abuse

Liam McKeone
Torii Hunter
Torii Hunter / Winslow Townson/Getty Images
facebooktwitter

Torii Hunter went on Golic & Wingo this morning to discuss the state of the country and how he's coping with the unrest that all began in his longtime home of Minnesota. One of the topics of discussion was Hunter's experience as a black man living in America. He shared several stories of how police officers would treat him much differently than they would a white man, including a harrowing tale of how police pulled guns on Hunter at his home in Anaheim because they didn't believe he lived there.

This led into a discussion about life as a black baseball player in America. Hunter discussed how he didn't want to speak up about the racial injustice he's experienced because of the backlash that inevitably comes from others doubting him and his motives for speaking out. After retirement, Hunter did discuss the slurs he faced when playing in Boston, but felt his claims were dismissed. He then revealed to Golic and Wingo that he had a no-trade clause to Boston in every contract he signed because of the hatred and racial abuse he faced whenever he played there. His full quote:

"And you can't say much about it because I play pro ball. I didn't want people saying, 'Oh, he's just a complainer, he's a militant black man, he's this and that and that.' I didn't want that because that backlash is powerful. And nobody heard me. Nobody heard that. That cry. Because I couldn't. I had people around me telling me don't say this, don't say that. But I've been called the N-word in Boston 100 times, and I said something about it. 'Oh, he's just a militant, he's lying, this didn't happen.' No, it happened! All the time! From little kids! And grown-ups right next to them didn't say anything," said Hunter. "So I had a no-trade clause in everything I had not to go to Boston. Not because of all the people, not because of the teammates, not because of the front office. Because if you're doing that and it's allowed amongst the people, I don't want to be there. And that's why I had a no-trade clause to Boston. Every contract I've ever had. And I always wanted to play for them. It sucks."

Boston has a well-documented history of racism, and you don't even have to go very far back to find the most recent egregious acts. Adam Jones said fans directed racial slurs toward him in the spring of 2017, which led Hunter to reveal he faced much of the same abuse. Many other players likely faced similar hateful language but neglected to speak up because of the same reasons Hunter vocalized in the quote above.

facebooktwitter