Following an incident of blatant racism while playing the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, Baltimore Orioles center fielder Adam Jones made a powerful statement by donating $20,000 to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.
Jones has faced racism many times in his career, but he says that this was hands down "one of the worst" incidents. In addition to his donation, Jones has a lot more to say about race in this country.
In an interview with Yahoo! Sports, the 31-year-old all-star spoke candidly about why it is important address racist acts wherever you find them. "I'm not afraid of the backlash because it's the truth. It's the truth through my eyes. We all have our own truths," he said.
Jones stressed that pretending racism doesn't exist is just plain B.S. "The worst thing is when people say: 'I don't see color.' I think that's the dumbest thing. Unless you're colorblind, you see color. You may choose not to think of the other things that come with color, but you see color," he continued.
Jones believes that to be silent about injustice is the equivalent of condoning bad behavior. He would like to see fans speak out when things get ugly. "Stand up. It doesn't matter what color you are. Stand up for what's right. You see someone fighting three on one--Black, White, anything--the right thing to do is stand up and intervene," he asserted.
Being a Black man playing "a White man's sport" has its own unique set of challenges which is what makes Jones' donation so significant. Not so long ago, Black players could only compete in the Negro Leagues because of segregation. That only changed when having Black players on the roster meant more green in the pockets of owners.
However, front office, ownership, and media have remained predominantly White. "Look at the management. Twenty-nine are White," Jones said. "What about basketball? There's Michael Jordan. People making the big-money decisions are not Black. Or Hispanic. They're generally White. In media, the same--and there aren't a lot of women. Women are in the same boat."
It is refreshing to see athletes like Adam Jones use their platforms to speak out against racism and bigotry. Sooner or later the vile venom of bigotry will darken all of our doorsteps one way or another. When it does, what will you do?