The Boston Red Sox say have apologized to former Minnesota Twins outfielder Torii Hunter, who said he was subject to racial abuse while in Boston or playing in the city's famed Fenway Park.
Hunter, a five-time All Star and nine-time Golden Glove winner, told ESPN last week that has "been called the N-word in Boston 100 times. … From little kids, and grownups right next to them didn’t say anything."
Hunter said he negotiated no trade-clauses in his contracts while playing professional baseball so he did not have to go to Boston.
“Torii Hunter’s experience is real,” the Red Sox statement says. “If you doubted 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.
Hunter is not the first professional athlete to complain about racial abuse in Boston. Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones told USA Today in 2017 he was racially abused and had peanuts thrown at him while playing in Boston. Celtics guard Marcus Smart told ESPN's The Undefeated, the network's platform that covers the intersections of race, sports and culture, he's been called the n-word in the city.
The Red Sox have a troubled past when it comes to race. They became the last Major League Baseball team to integrate in 1959, 12 years after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
However, the team has been attempting to combat that narrative in recent years. Yawkey Way, an iconic street named after the late Red Sox owner who resisted integration, was renamed in 2017 because of Yawkey's racist legacy.
Both Hunter and Jones posted on Twitter in support of the Red Sox's statement published Wednesday.