“If he wants to maintain the lie he made here, that’s fine,” Schilling told WEEI in a text message. “No one denies racism exists, but when people like him lie about an incident and others just take him at his word, it perpetuates a mythical level of racism.”
Schilling, who played for the Red Sox from 2004 to 2007 and won two World Series with Boston, was reacting to remarks Jones had made to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. The five-time all-star said Schilling, who was fired last year from his job as a baseball analyst for ESPN, was looking for attention and would not know what it was like to play in Boston as a black athlete.
“When you speak out, you’re going to get a lot of attention. … Some good, some bad,” Jones said. “Schilling is over there with his rants. He just wants an outlet. Somebody will take his call, take his rants. He can keep them for himself.
“Because he’s never experienced anything like I have. I’ll stick with what [Mark] McLemore said about it: Schilling, hell of a career. But he’s never been black, and he’s never played the outfield in Boston.”
Earlier in May, McLemore, a former MLB player and now a Rangers TV analyst, told a Boston radio station that what Jones said was “true,” and that racist behavior “happens” at Fenway Park. McLemore, who played for seven teams in an 18-year MLB career, claimed that he received racial abuse “every year” that he visited the Red Sox.
“There’s not one African American baseball player that has gone through the city of Boston over the years that needs any kind of validation from Curt Schilling about this,” McLemore said. “Curt has no idea what gets said anywhere on the field, other than on the mound. He has never played center field, and number one, he’s never been African American, so he has no idea what an African American male goes through, and what an African American baseball player goes through on a daily basis in cities all across the country.”
Jones echoed McLemore’s clarification that black players suffer racial abuse at more ballparks than just Fenway. “You can’t just single out Boston,” he told Passan. “That would be a cop-out. You go around the whole nation, and you hear fans get nasty.”
Schilling has repeatedly contended that if someone at Fenway did shout the n-word loud enough for Jones to hear, then other fans at the park surely would have heard it, too, and that a lack of different accounts of the incident, particularly on social media, casts suspicion on Jones’s allegations. He also said on Twitter that while he heard the racial slur “in a clubhouse on the rarest of occasions,” he “never once” heard it “on the field directed at anyone.”
“For some reason, it appears blacks believe only blacks can talk about racism and only whites can be racists,” Schilling said to WEEI in his text message. “I promise you if some scumbag yelled the n-word at Adam Jones in Fenway, it would have been on Twitter, Facebook and every other social media site asap, like every other ‘incident.’ Not to mention the liberal Boston media would have broken its neck to identify the racist.
“But just taking him at his word means there are a bunch of white cowards and racists living here, because no one stood up to the guy. Adam has an agenda and one needs to only look at his past commentary on race and racism to see it. But see, when you question fake hate crimes in this day and age it somehow makes you a racist.”
The Red Sox, as well as Boston and state officials, had less trouble believing Jones’s account. The team issued an apology for the treatment he received, and the day after his incident, it permanently banned a Red Sox fan who made a racist comment to another fan at Fenway.