What did the banner say?
A black and white banner — said to be inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement — which screamed “Racism is as American as baseball” — was unfurled at Fenway Park on Wednesday night. The banner was up after the final out in the top of the fourth inning, and remained until just before the bottom of the inning when ballpark security confiscated it.
Five people said to be responsible for hanging the banner were ejected from the stadium as a result.
Who was behind the banner?
When contacted by the local Boston NBC affiliate, one of the group members responsible for hanging the flag spoke under the condition of anonymity, and revealed that those involved had affiliations with “racial justice causes.”
In a statement provided to The Washington Post, one of the group’s members added, “We are a group of white anti-racist protesters. We want to remind everyone that just as baseball is fundamental to American culture and history, so too is racism.”
The demonstrators, however, were adamant that they were not affiliated with any Antifa groups.
“The five of us are in no way associated with Antifa nor did Antifa Boston have anything to do with the action,” a group member told the NBC affiliate via text.
How did the public react?
Many people on social media construed the banner to be racist, while others seemed to find the concept of the banner foggy.
One social media user wrote, “‘Racism is as American as Baseball’ banner seems to have p****d off a lot of racist baseball fans,” while another added, “Racist people are mad that the world knows Racism [sic] is as American as baseball, apple pie, guns, war, prison, slavery, genocide, greed.”
Racist people are mad that the world knows Racism is as American as baseball, apple pie, guns, war, prison, slavery, genocide, greed. #MAGA
— G chilly (@GalvarinoChilly) September 14, 2017
Yet another wrote, “I still don’t know whether that RACISM IS AS AMERICAN AS BASEBALL was pro-racism or anti-racism, and I’m being serious.”
I still don’t know whether that RACISM IS AS AMERICAN AS BASEBALL was pro-racism or anti-racism, and I’m being serious.
— Vincent “Bo” Dega (@keisertroll) September 14, 2017
What were they trying to accomplish with the banner?
One of the people who hung the banner explained the reasoning behind it to the local Boston NBC affiliate.
“We see Boston continually priding itself as a kind of liberal, not racist city, and are reminded also constantly that it’s actually an extremely segregated city,” the unidentified person told the network.
“It has been for a long time, and that no white people can avoid the history of racism, essentially. So we did this banner as a gesture towards that, to have a conversation about that,” they revealed, adding that the Black Lives Matter movement was a source of inspiration.
“We … didn’t think of it as an ambiguous message,” the group member said. “It’s kind of telling that it is being interpreted as one.”