Jerry Hairston Jr. played in the majors from 1998 to 2013, spending time with the Orioles, Cubs, Rangers, Reds, Yankees, Padres, Nationals, Brewers and Dodgers. What does that mean? It means he got to know numerous fan bases quite well, and Hairston, who is African-American, never experienced anything like Adam Jones experienced Monday night in Boston.
The Orioles outfielder was the victim of racial taunts and was apparently called the N-word.
Hairston wasn’t stunned by this. A little surprised, perhaps, but certainly not stunned.
“Well, in Fenway Park, obviously they give it pretty hard to the visiting team, and for the most part, the fans are pretty nice, actually,” Hairston said on CBS Sports Radio’s Reiter Than You. “They insult you after they say hello to you. I’ve found some of the funniest fans have been in Fenway. However, there is always a handful of fans that can get over the top. I’ve never experienced what Adam Jones experienced (Monday), but I’ve heard on a couple of occasions different players that were black have experienced very similar things that Adam Jones experienced. I believe CC Sabathia even spoke about it (Tuesday) afternoon, so it’s unfortunate.”
That racism isn’t limited to players, either.
“I played under Dusty Baker for a few years in Chicago and in Cincinnati,” said Hairston, who won a World Series with the Yankees in 2009. “The couple letters that I saw that he got from various cities were appalling. I know he’s experienced it in the past. He doesn’t really voice it. My teammates also experienced certain things in different cities. No matter what, no matter where you go, you’re always going to have one or two people that are just ignorant, and it ruins it for the rest of the fans. For the most part, fans have really been great. They boo the opposing team – and that’s how it should be – but never to the level that Adam Jones has experienced.”