Fish Bytes

Some Marlins players say they have been on receiving end of racial insults too

“There’s more of that stuff than you would think,” said Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon who, like Baltimore’s Adam Jones, was one of 62 African-American players on an Opening Day roster.
“There’s more of that stuff than you would think,” said Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon who, like Baltimore’s Adam Jones, was one of 62 African-American players on an Opening Day roster. pfarrell@miamiherald.com

Taunts and jeers they can take.

Racial and ethnic slurs are a different story.

One day after Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones said he was subjected to racial epithets by fans at Fenway Park in Boston, some players on the Marlins said they’ve endured the same, but just kept quiet about it.

“There’s more of that stuff than you would think,” said Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon who, like Jones, was one of 62 African-American players on an Opening Day roster.

Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton said he’s heard his share of racial insults, as well, while Japanese outfielder Ichiro Suzuki confirmed that he’s dealt with ethnic slurs from fans throughout his major-league career.

“It’s not one isolated incident,” Gordon said of the circumstances involving Jones, an All-Star outfielder who spoke up Monday after he said fans in Boston called him the N-word and hurled peanuts at him.

On Tuesday, Red Sox officials apologized to Jones and the Orioles for the behavior of fans while MLB commissioner Rob Manfred condemned their actions as being “completely unacceptable.”

“It’s unfortunate that people need to resort to those type of epithets to degrade another human being,” Jones said.

But Gordon and other Marlins say it’s hardly uncommon.

“It happens a lot,” Suzuki said. “But players don’t say anything. If everybody came out and said what was said from the stands, there would be an uproar.”

Suzuki said he’s been subjected to ethnic slurs, though more so earlier in his big-league career.

“It’s happened to me in the past,” said Suzuki, who has been playing in the majors since arriving from Japan in 2001. “I’ve had ice and coins thrown at me, actually hit me in the head a couple of times. They say things that you don’t want to hear.”

Gordon and Stanton said they’ve heard racial insults throughout their pro careers. “There was even more of it in the minors,” Stanton said.

Former major-league outfielder Preston Wilson, who is now a TV broadcaster for the Marlins, said he was frequently the target of racial insults during his 10-year career. And Wilson said that outside of the minor leagues, Boston was the worst big-league city for racial epithets from fans.

“It’s not just a ‘you [stink]’ type of thing,” Wilson said. “It’s directed toward race. You can’t miss it. And it happens to the Latin guys, too. It’s not just the black guys. I did my best to ignore it. But it doesn’t mean it doesn’t stink.”

Gordon said he hasn’t spoken up about the insults, figuring it was just better to keep his mouth shut and “brush it off.”

“I’ve never complained,” he said. “I just try to put it in perspective. Us hearing it now is what our ancestors had to go through. Only they went through way worse.”

Gordon said what bothers him most is the impression it may leave on children who witness it from the stands.

“It’s just sad sometimes because kids see that,” Gordon said. As for Jones, he said: “I know how he feels.”

COMING UP

▪ Wednesday: Marlins LHP Adam Conley (1-2, 6.86) at Tampa Bay Rays LHP Blake Snell (0-2, 3.42), 7:10 p.m., Tropicana Park.

▪ Thursday: Marlins RHP Dan Straily (1-2, 4.15) at Tampa Bay Rays RHP Matt Andriese (1-1, 3.86), 7:10 p.m.

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