Jackie Robinson has long been celebrated as the one to shatter baseball's color line, helping to create racial harmony not just in sports, but across the United States.
Both his struggles and accomplishments were ignored Tuesday night, however, as the famous Robinson statue outside the Brooklyn Cyclones' MCU Park was found to be defaced on Wednesday morning, according to Thomas Tracy and Rich Schapiro of the New York Daily News.
The statue, which depicts Robinson standing alongside Brooklyn Dodgers teammate Pee Wee Reese, has become synonymous with Coney Island and racial integration in MLB. According to Tracy and Schapiro, a vandal drew swastikas and wrote derogatory and racist comments on the statue in black marker.
(Warning: The following language is NSFW.)
Among the hate-filled messages written in black marker on the monument to Robinson and his Brooklyn Dodgers teammate Pee Wee Reese were: "Heil Hitler," "Die n----r," "F--k n----r" and "F--k Jackie Robinson."
Robinson famously broke Major League Baseball's color barrier in 1947 after being signed by visionary Dodgers president Branch Rickey in 1945. He went on to become a six-time All-Star, a National League MVP and a World Series Champion with the Dodgers. Robinson was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962, and his No. 42 was retired league-wide in 1997.
Cyclones director of communications Billy Harner was especially hurt by the fact that someone would cover the statue with such hateful comments: "The statue is a symbol of tolerance. It's an absolute tragedy that someone would deface it the way they did."
No leads or suspects have been reported as of yet, but the police are treating the act as a hate crime, according to Tracy and Schapiro.
While workers were able to remove writing from the bronze portion of the statue, they were unable to eradicate what was written on the bottom stone portion.
Personnel worked diligently to eliminate the racial slurs, as seen in this tweet courtesy of 1010 WINS reporter Glenn Schuck, but the cleanup is still ongoing:
Workers removing vandal spray paint from Jackie Robinson statue. Cyclones park pic.twitter.com/6VokOTmBI7— glenn schuck (@glennschuck) August 7, 2013
There may not be much information regarding those responsible for the defacing of the statue as of now, but there is no question that the people of Brooklyn will do everything in their power to find out who would commit such a despicable crime.
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