May 02, 2017

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle:

A place to discuss the sports stories that aren't making news, share links that aren't quite front-page material, and diagram plays on your hand. Remember to count to five Mississippi before commenting in anger.

posted by huddle to general at 06:00 AM - 17 comments

Adam Jones says he was subjected to racist abuse during a game at Fenway. That's terrible and he has every right to be angry, but here's his proposed solution: "What they need to do is that instead of kicking them out of the stadium, they need to fine them 10 grand, 20 grand, 30 grand. That's how you hurt somebody."

Does Jones think the fans watching baseball are as rich as the players? A $30,000 grand fine -- even if it were possible to impose such a thing -- would be like Jones getting a $7 million fine.

I think the way to handle racist fans is to ban them for life, and if they got the tickets from somebody else ban that person as well. If large groups of fans engage in bigoted chants, like Mexican soccer fans do when a keeper kicks the ball, play a game in an empty stadium or ban all alcohol sales.

posted by rcade at 12:53 PM on May 02

Yeah, I noticed his solution seemed pretty detached from reality and would only serve to make fans more abusive in general. I'd love to see a stadium ban to wake people up, but you know in the US that would only result in a bunch of lawyers getting rich. Public shaming is the best idea I can come up with.

posted by yerfatma at 01:11 PM on May 02

I think the way to handle racist fans is to ban them for life, and if they got the tickets from somebody else ban that person as well.

I like the idea of banning people from the stadium, but that's going to make the security theatre at stadiums take twice as long as they have to do face recognition on everyone that enters.

There is also no way that MLB will implement the "ticket owner" ban idea, as that would scare away the market to sell tickets on the MLB-approved StubHub, thus taking that extra coin from the MLB/team pockets.

Public shaming, plus the knowledge that some players might actively avoid signing with a team because of their fans, is the only hope that you'll see any change.

posted by grum@work at 01:58 PM on May 02

I think he's got the right idea, though. Make the fine something ridiculously high, something that will bring pain for years to come. It should hurt really friggin' hard to be a racist goon in the 21st century.

posted by NoMich at 02:18 PM on May 02

Fining someone for saying racist slurs is just ASKING for the ACLU to come down on you hard.

This isn't "shouting fire in a theatre". This is just expressing abhorrent ideas out loud, and I'm pretty sure the best you could hope for would be to toss someone from the ballpark (like you could do with any person you don't want in there for any reason).

posted by grum@work at 03:36 PM on May 02

I'm going to fine *you*, grum.

posted by NoMich at 03:50 PM on May 02

There is also no way that MLB will implement the "ticket owner" ban idea

Doesn't the NFL do this? I know there was a huge hue and cry from Patriots fans but upon reflection that was when Wil McDonough was still alive, so it may no longer be accurate.

posted by yerfatma at 04:52 PM on May 02

Fining someone for saying racist slurs is just ASKING for the ACLU to come down on you hard.

This isn't "shouting fire in a theatre". This is just expressing abhorrent ideas out loud, and I'm pretty sure the best you could hope for would be to toss someone from the ballpark (like you could do with any person you don't want in there for any reason).

The racist slurs were yelled in conjunction with stuff being thrown at him. Yeah I know, it was peanuts that were being thrown, but still, I think we've ventured out of 1st Amendment protections here.

Plus, Fenway Park is private property, yes? If so, then I don't think the racist goons are covered by the 1st Amendment in this case.

Do we have a Constitutional lawyer in the house?

posted by NoMich at 06:03 PM on May 02

I like the idea of banning people from the stadium, but that's going to make the security theatre at stadiums take twice as long as they have to do face recognition on everyone that enters.

I think the way that would work is this: A person is ejected for shouting racial slurs, that person is ejected and banned from future events. There is no need for facial recognition or increased security. Just keep a database of everyone ejected for racial slurs. At future games, anyone who is ejected for shouting racial slurs will have their information run against the database of 86'd fans--if they have already been ejected once and told not to return, they are trespassing and can be arrested and charged with that crime. If they come back, they get arrested again, and become repeat offenders.

Do we have a Constitutional WATER lawyer in the house?

Sure. As far as the 1st Amendment implications, the ballpark can set up a "free speech zone" immediately inside an entrance. Time and place restrictions have consistently been upheld by the courts, and by providing a place to practice free speech, the ballpark has not placed an unreasonable prior restraint on speech. In that zone, those who wish to practice free speech can scream racist buffoonery at the top of their lungs, well out of earshot of any player, and fellow patrons can avoid them. If unacceptable speech - as clearly defined on the ticket (the license allowing admission into the stadium) - is practiced outside of the free speech zone, then see above.

posted by tahoemoj at 07:42 PM on May 02

Plus, Fenway Park is private property, yes? If so, then I don't think the racist goons are covered by the 1st Amendment in this case.

Oh, absolutely. I just don't think a private establishment can FINE someone on their premises for being racist, and I'm pretty sure that the government can't fine the person for swearing on private property, so that's why I said the idea of fining someone would be a non-starter.

posted by grum@work at 08:00 PM on May 02

Now, for something completely different:

Aaron Judge is a very strong young man.

posted by grum@work at 08:02 PM on May 02

I just don't think a private establishment can FINE someone on their premises for being racist...

But there's the rub. This patron wasn't just being a racist, he was yelling words that were meant to provoke the player into some sort of reaction and he was throwing stuff at the player. The patron was actively being a racist.

Maybe I'm misreading exactly what you're trying to say, but when I think of someone being racist, I think of an old white man who grew up in the Jim Crow South telling me how there was no racial problems back then; he and all of the "colored boys" got along fine. Then there's someone like this goon, actively engaging another person and trying to provoke some sort of reaction from that other person.

But I guess that doesn't really address the topic of fining patrons when they do things like this. I guess you can't just because, where do you draw the line? But I stand by my earlier statement that in the 21st century, it should hurt if you are a racist goon. I would like to fine them and have all of the money come to me.

posted by NoMich at 09:16 PM on May 02

Aaron Judge is a very strong young man.

He should be fined for the cost of that TV.

posted by NoMich at 09:17 PM on May 02

I don't like the idea of these huge fines. There are things said that can definitely be defined as racist, but there are other things that may be interpreted as being racists by some and not by others. Yes, I know, the argument about the one receiving the insult should be able to determine if it's racist or not. But let me give you an example. Back when Dusty Baker was manager of the Reds he had a couple of centerfielders who were not very good but still kept their starting spot. One of them was Corey Patterson. In the bottom of an inning he struck out looking at three pitches right down the middle with two outs and the bases loaded. When he came out to play defense a guy by me yelled out at him that he was lucky that he's Dusty's boy because he should have been cut between innings. A black gentleman sitting next to me yelled at the fan to sit his racist ass down. The fan who yelled at Patterson, was, like, what the hell are you talking about. The black guy said you don't ever call someone boy, especially if you're white talking to someone black. The white guy had no intention of saying anything racist (and if Patterson was white he would have said the exact same thing). But now, who decides if this guy should be fined half of his yearly salary? And don't say it's common sense, because we all know how that can go. The black guy was 100 percent sure it was racist, and the white guy was 100 percent sure he didn't say anything racist. It's a very slippery slope. Just my two cents.

posted by jagsnumberone at 03:14 AM on May 03

Rather than fines, if the club is forced to play the next game behind closed doors, the effect might be that the fans start to police the racists themselves - e.g. pointing them out to security, or telling them to shut up. Especially if a whole block of fans react the same way.

After all, you're there to watch baseball, not to have to listen to all that shit. It might work.

posted by owlhouse at 03:24 AM on May 03

They did throw the guy out and video is available on Twitter. It would be nice if the Red Sox put the guy's photo and name on the Jumbotron for the next couple of games.

Side note: I was just Googling now to see if I could find the video I saw yesterday and was hit with a depressing look at how our 24-hour news cycle/ blogosphere creates a fucking mess. More than one of the links has conflated Adam Jones' statement that "60 people were ejected" that night with a racist who threw peanuts and used racial slurs to make it sound like Fenway has a racism section of club seats.

posted by yerfatma at 02:23 PM on May 03

Some Red Sox fans just don't know Boston's racist history

And yes things have gotten better, and yes the vast majority of Red Sox fans are not racists, and yes Boston has grown more diverse over the last few decades. Still, recent census results show that it remains one of the most segregated cities in America. When fans say that the Jones incident doesn't reflect the city they know, it's not that they're being untruthful, it's that what they know might be an entirely different city than what others' know.

posted by rumple at 08:39 PM on May 03

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