BOSTON — Four fans seated above the Green Monster at Fenway Park dropped down a sign that read “Racism is as American as baseball” during the fourth inning of the Red Sox‘s game against the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday night.
The sign was draped over the top, middle section of the Green Monster and had a black background with white letters.
It was up for about one batter. There was a spattering of boos from the crowd as Red Sox security forced those holding the sign to remove it and escorted the people from their seats. Umpire Joe West and police were seen on the field discussing what happened.
“During the fourth inning of tonight’s game, four fans unfurled a banner over the left-field wall in violation of the club’s policy prohibiting signs of any kind to be hung or affixed to the ballpark,” a Red Sox spokesperson said. “The individuals involved were escorted out of Fenway Park.”
The spokesman said one of those ejected said they were inspired by Black Lives Matter. The Boston Antifa, a left-wing activist group, took responsibility for the banner, saying via Twitter: “What we did tonight at #Fenway was for our allies DSA & #BlackLivesMatter. Now a question to you: Baseball is racist. Do you support racism?”
The Boston Globe reported no arrests were made in connection with the incident. Red Sox president and CEO Sam Kennedy told the newspaper: “Clearly they wanted to make a statement.”
The Red Sox lost the game 7-3. Afterward, what happened in that fourth inning was a topic in the home clubhouse.
“There’s no place for that,” outfielder Mookie Betts said. “That’s for another day, though.”
Added manager John Farrell: “Saw it was draped over the Monster. From the dugout, you see someone expressing their opinion and it looked like it was withdrawn relatively quick.”
It’s not the first time racism and Fenway Park have been linked this season.
In May, Baltimore Orioles center fielder Adam Jones said he was subjected to a torrent of N-words and other racist taunts at Fenway during the team’s game against the Red Sox. The Red Sox later apologized to Jones, and the team toughened its fan code of conduct to stress a zero-tolerance policy and impose the harshest possible penalties for violators.
A night later, the Red Sox permanently banned a man from Fenway whom they said used a racial slur toward another fan.
In August, Red Sox owner John Henry told the Boston Herald that the organization will lead the way in attempts to change the name Yawkey Way. The street adjacent to Fenway is named after Tom Yawkey, who owned the team from 1933 to 1976 and refused to integrate it until 1959.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.