The Boston Red Sox are committed to fighting racial injustice.
Torii Hunter, a former major league outfielder who retired after the 2015 season, recently revealed that he heard racist taunts from fans at Fenway Park throughout his career and therefore listed Boston in no-trade clauses of his MLB contracts.
On Wednesday, the Red Sox released a powerful statement, calling Hunter’s experience “real” and noting there were seven reported incidents of fans using racial slurs at Fenway Park in 2019.
The Red Sox vowed to continue using their platform as a way to combat racial inequality.
Here’s the club’s full statement:
This is real. pic.twitter.com/gMp8MEPb46
— Red Sox (@RedSox) June 10, 2020
Torii Hunter?s experience is real.
If you doubt him because you?ve never heard it yourself, take it from us, it happens. Last year there were 7 reported incidents at Fenway Park where fans used racial slurs. Those are just the ones we know about.
And it?s not only players. It happens to the dedicated Black employees who work for us on game days. Their uniforms may be different, but their voices and experiences are just as important.
We are grateful to everyone who has spoken up and remain committed to using our platform to amplify the many voices who are calling out injustice.
There are well-established consequences for fans who use racial slurs and hate speech in our venue, and we know we have more work to do. This small group of fans does not represent who we are, but are rather a reflection of larger systemic issues that as an organization we need to address.
True change starts from within, and as we identify how we can do better, please know we are listening. We hear you, and we believe you.
Hunter responded to the Red Sox’s statement on Twitter by quote-tweeting it and adding: Change starts now. Much love!??????????????
Change starts now. Much love!?????????????? https://t.co/aoUqmUX24E
— Torii Hunter (@toriihunter48) June 10, 2020
Hunter, who played for the Minnesota Twins, Los Angeles Angels and Detroit Tigers during his 19-year career, recalled his experiences in Boston last week while appearing on ESPN’s “Golic and Wingo.” The 44-year-old then expanded Tuesday on WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show,” saying he even wanted to play for Boston but didn’t want his wife and kids exposed to such incidents.
Hunter’s comments came as protests continue across the country in wake of George Floyd’s death. Several athletes and sports franchises, including the Red Sox, have released statements in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.