Does skin color and race really matter in sports? This question always comes to mind when I play and watch America’s pastime, baseball.

On May 1, a few Boston fans shouted racial epithets at Adam Jones, the Baltimore Orioles outfielder. Although it may be normal for fans to cheer for the home team and boo the opposing team, this was way too much. On the following day Jones was welcomed by a standing ovation at Fenway from the Red Sox fans.

In Boston, that kind of behavior is famous; it is historical. But is this something that can be forgiven just by one standing ovation?

Other African-American players have stated that they have been called the N-word when they play at Boston, that it is something they expect.

It is not only the majors that have this problem. In Nippon Professional Baseball, players from foreign countries are called suketto gaikokujin (foreign helpers). making it look like the foreign athletes are treated as helpers and not players. Why don’t they call them “gaikokujin senshu” (foreign players)?

Sports should be a stage where all battle through physical ability, not physical appearance.


The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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