After the Red Sox issued a statement confirming Torii Hunter’s allegations of racial abuse from fans, Kevin Youkilis offered his own experience of hearing Boston fans using racial slurs. On Fox Radio, the former infielder recalled the Red Sox’s fans attacking one of his black teammates. Because he was white, Youkilis said he was “lucky.”
“They loved me. But I did see some tension with even my own teammates,” Youkilis, who played with the Red Sox from 2004-’12, said this week. “There was one incident where a fan came running down and was being extra harsh towards one of our black players, and I just got fed up and I stood up and told him to ‘Shut the ‘F’ up, and if you don’t like it get out of here’.
“I will never forget that moment because I was boiling. You could see the tension, and it wasn’t the same tension that was towards a white player. For the most part, I’d like to say too, though, with Red Sox fans, it’s not the majority it’s a minority of people that act like that. But the minority is too big, and you have to eliminate that.”
Hunter said on ESPN Radio this week that racism by Red Sox fans kept him from ever going to Boston.
“And you can’t say much about it because I play pro ball, “Hunter said. “I didn’t want people saying, ‘Oh, he’s just a complainer, he’s a militant black man, he’s this and that and that.’ I didn’t want that because that backlash is powerful. And nobody heard me. Nobody heard that. That cry. Because I couldn’t. I had people around me telling me don’t say this, don’t say that.
“But I’ve been called the N-word in Boston 100 times, and I said something about it. ‘Oh, he’s just a militant, he’s lying, this didn’t happen.’ No, it happened! All the time! From little kids! And grown-ups right next to them didn’t say anything. So I had a no-trade clause in everything I had not to go to Boston. Not because of all the people, not because of the teammates, not because of the front office. Because if you’re doing that and it’s allowed amongst the people, I don’t want to be there. And that’s why I had a no-trade clause to Boston. Every contract I’ve ever had. And I always wanted to play for them. It sucks.”
The Red Sox wrote in a statement that Hunter was speaking the truth, saying that there were seven reported incidents of racial slurs used at Fenway Park last season alone, and “those are just the ones we know about.” The team said it’s not just players that hear them, but employees of the team as well.
“Torii Hunter’s experience is real,” the team said. “If you doubt him because you’ve never heard it yourself, take it from us, it’s real.”