Torii Hunter Says Racism Isn't Confined to Red Sox: It's Family, Society

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJune 16, 2020

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - OCTOBER 07: Former player Torii Hunter of the Minnesota Twins throws out the first pitch prior to the game against the New York Yankees on October 7, 2019 in game three of the American League Division Series at the Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)
Brace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images

Former MLB player Torii Hunter explained he didn't want to play for the Boston Red Sox because of a widespread issue of racism that went beyond the team.

Hunter explained the situation to Jayson Stark on Starkville:

Jayson Stark @jaysonst

"This is not a Red Sox issue...and really not a Boston Red Sox fan issue. It's a family, society, government issue." -Torii Hunter talks Red Sox, racial equality, the labor mess & the HOF on a brand new Starkville. Plus @Ken_Rosenthal on the labor mess! https://t.co/ziWCxp3NjA https://t.co/Qa6F6yYh7s

The 44-year-old said earlier this month on ESPN's Golic and Wingo (h/t Boston.com) he had a no-trade clause to avoid the Red Sox after being called the N-word in Boston "100 times." He later provided examples (via the Greg Hill Show) of racism at Fenway Park, including a time when four or five kids chanted the N-word at him in the outfield while the grownups were just laughing.

This indicated to Hunter that it was a deeper problem.

"I looked at this whole thing like this is a family issue, this is a society [issue], this is an issue that's in this area," he told Stark. "... I didn't want my family around that."

The Red Sox confirmed that these incidents occur in a statement:

Red Sox @RedSox

This is real. https://t.co/gMp8MEPb46

Former Boston infielder Kevin Youkilis recently said he had heard racism at Fenway directed at other players.

"I've always felt awful about it and I wish I could have done more to help those guys during that time," said the 41-year-old, whose last season as a Red Sox was in 2012, one year before his final MLB season.

Hunter spent 19 years in the majors, including 12 with the Minnesota Twins. The recent discussion comes amid worldwide protests after George Floyd, an unarmed black man, was killed while in police custody in Minneapolis.