Punch Exposes Bosox’s Racist Fans

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For some reason, none of the coverage of the ugly incident which marred the recent Yankee-Red Sox series finale in Boston raised the question of whether the fans who sucker-punched and dumped beer on Gary Sheffield might have been racially-motivated bigots. Instead, the debated focused on the question of whether the assailants were drunk or simply overzealous in their quest for a free baseball, as if that would excuse the boorish behavior.

Faithful readers of this column know that I have been to Fenway Park, once, by accident, being utterly unaware of how inhospitable the place is to both African-Americans and New York Yankees. I would no sooner re-enter its hateful and hostile environs again than a Ku Klux Klan rally. The most tell-tale sign that the stadium still retains its unspoken "WHITE ONLY" policy today is the new film Fever Pitch which features news footage of lily white legions of Red Sox fans in scene after scene after scene.

The day I was there, the entire crowd was gleefully chanting "Fuck the Yankees! Fuck niggers!" while pelting any Blacks in attendance with beverages, peanuts and Crackerjack. Oh, and they weren't even playing the Yankees.

So, I strongly suspect that by the time that Gary was chasing the ball rolling around the right field corner late in the contest that fateful Thursday night, the bums sitting in the bleachers probably had been giving him a good going over for quite some time. When you replay the videotape in slow-motion, you can clearly see a creep named Kevin House blind-side Sheffield, swinging his fist and connecting flush with the side of the head. At almost the same instant, Matthew Donovan, another jerk not even sitting in the front row, leaned forward to chuck a mug of beer square in Sheffield's face.

To his credit, the shocked Yankee slugger started to grab House, but didn't retaliate, explaining in interviews immediately afterwards that his impulse was to defend himself, believing that his lip had been busted open. Still, some have called for Sheffield's suspension, most notably, annoying Yankee radio announcer Suzyn Waldman, a turncoat from Beantown with a Boston accent who finally showed her true colors.

Meanwhile, Gary has been summoned to the Major League Baseball office where at least a  stiff fine is likely to be meted out. I only hope that the League looks at more than the videotape before making a decision.

How about factoring-in some eyewitness accounts of events from the night in question, such as that of Keith Whamond, who confesses that, "People in our section were screaming and busting on Gary," not just when play was disrupted in the 8th inning but, "the whole game." He says, "There were hundreds of people around me screaming "[Expletive] you!" and "You're an ass-hole!"  And I wouldn't be surprised if they used the N-word just as freely.

For while most people probably associate the Red Sox with the recently-broken curse of the Bambino, Blacks still think of them as the very last pro baseball team to integrate, in 1959, a dozen years after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers. What's up with that?

By then, even the Bruins, Boston's hockey team, had managed to sign a worthy Black hockey player, who must have been far more of a challenge to find than any of the 100+ baseball stars the Sox passed on including such eventual immortals as Willie Mays, Roy Campanella, Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson, Ernie Banks and Roberto Clemente, to name a few. Boston's loss.

Black Star columnist attorney Kam Williams is a member of the NJ, NY, CT, PA, MA & US Supreme Court bars. To order the newsstand edition of The Black Star visit “subscribe� on the homepage or call (212) 481-7745.

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