Calvin Hennick, a Boston resident taking his son to his first Red Sox game as a present for his sixth birthday, said on Wednesday night that a neighboring fan had used a racial slur when referring to the national anthem singer. Surprised, Hennick asked the fan to repeat it, and he did.
Credit Michael Dwyer/Associated Press
Hennick summoned security, and the other fan, whose name has not been released, was ejected. Hennick said the man denied to the security officers that he had used a racial slur.
Kennedy thanked Hennick, calling him courageous for speaking out. Asked if he felt inspired or emboldened by Jones’s comments a day earlier, Hennick said: “I think I would have said something anyway. I’m kind of a squeaky wheel.”
Hennick added: “But I’m glad the Sox are encouraging fans to come forward. I was just pleased that they took it really seriously.”
Hennick, who is white, was at the game with his father-in-law, who is originally from Haiti, and his son, who is biracial. At first, Hennick said, he assumed the other fan had mistaken him for a kindred spirit, but now Hennick believes the man was reacting to the uproar over Jones.
“I was sitting there with my mixed-race family,” Hennick said. “The more I think about it, the more I think it was a deliberate thumb in the eye. He wanted to prove that he could say whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted.”
The Red Sox declined to identify the barred person, saying the matter had been referred to the police. The Boston Police Department confirmed that its civil rights unit was investigating and would determine whether further action was warranted.
Kennedy said he believed it was the first time a fan had been barred for life from the ballpark. Ushers at the gates will be notified that the fan is not to be admitted.
Kennedy said that he was angry and frustrated after the episode involving Jones but that the one involving Hennick made him feel “deep remorse that these things happen in our society.”
Kennedy said the episode was “the reality of the world that we live in,” and he called on city and business leaders to “work together to try to stamp them out so that they don’t happen again.”
He added, “Hopefully, this is a step forward.”
Hennick said he did not feel that the experience had soured him on the ballpark or the city.
“My wife and I have been happy here,” he said. “I don’t feel uncomfortable walking around Boston with my mixed-race family, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not a common occurrence for people.
“My son doesn’t know what happened and had a great time. He definitely wants to go back, and I plan on going back. All sports teams need to do what they can to address fan behavior, and I think the Sox kind of have a fire lit under them to make sure they do all they can.”
Source: New York Times