Tuesday morning the New York Daily News posted an article stating that racial slurs directed at Jason Heyward by Cardinals fans were picked up by the ESPN microphones, validating that claim, not with audio, which is incredibly easy to acquire, but tweets. Needless to say, this is not a proper way a credible news source conducts business. This is all beside the point, though. Although the unsubstantiated claim was hurtful to many people - the Cardinals, their fans, and probably Jason Heyward himself - there is some good that can come of this.
Racism in baseball is not an issue discovered recently. Since the game's inception, really, racism has run deep through the sport. Though it has come a long way, use of racial slurs and other derogatory language is still prevalent, a commonly-cited example being the reports of offensive language directed Milton Bradley while playing at Wrigley Field. Per Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch:
Cubs center fielder Dexter Fowler also said he did not hear any of the alleged taunts Monday, but he has heard them before even as he tries to tune out crowd noise.
"At the same time, you hear something like that it definitely will turn your head," Fowler said. "You're not going to change everybody."
This is not an issue isolated to just one fan base - perhaps it would be much easier if it were. It is a troubling issue that spans across the globe in many aspects of life, but we can use this case of faulty reporting to address it in at least one area and actions we can all take.
If you are at the ballpark and hear derogatory comments made toward a player, a coach, other fans, or anyone, report it to the ushers. Do not be afraid to "make a scene" by asking that the offender be removed. We all have a moral obligation to stop reprehensible behavior. The Cardinals have urged people to report offensive behavior, per the St. Louis Post Dispatch:
A Cardinals official said the team was "mortified" when it became aware of a report in a New York newspaper that fans spat a racial slur at the African-American outfielder during Monday's game, and that crowd microphones used in the game broadcast had picked it up.
"We always have had no tolerance for something like that," Cardinals spokesman Ron Watermon said. "If this happened, it would not be acceptable and the fan would be removed. ... Ushers would act swiftly. We are firm with this, no question."
The claims made against Cardinals fans were harsh, embarrassing, and unfounded, but if this story helps stop just one instance of bigotry and hatred, then this backlash is totally worth it.
Be good baseball fans, but more importantly, be good people.
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what the cardinals are up to...
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the nl central
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