On Sunday night after the Rockies win over the Miami Marlins, a video surfaced of a fan, apparently near home plate, shouting a word many believed to be that disgusting racial slur we ALL should loathe. Lewis Brinson was at the plate for the Marlins when a mans voice could be heard shouting something that sounded awful close to that dreaded word. I, like many of you, watched the video via twitter where someone I follow, or reporters I follow shared the video offering his or her two cents on the situation in a not so polite way. And why should they be polite? They heard it too….or did they?
Well we all know now that this fan, this man, unknown at the time, who was absolutely crucified and labeled a racist, was simply yelling at team mascot, Dinger, to try and get his attention for a quick picture or two. Even when it was later reported that was in fact what he said, some reporters were still skeptical. It wasn’t until the full video of the fan waiving and shouting toward Dinger was released that we started getting the apologies….from some of the reporters at least. Still waiting on the Rockies to offer something along those lines instead of this:
The Colorado Rockies first issued a statement saying how disgusted they were at the racial slur and that they have zero tolerance for any form of racism. Yet even when they found out the fan was not being a racist he was just enjoying being a Rockies fan, the organization doubled down on the fact they wouldn’t tolerate racism. No apology. No “our bad.” Nothing. Just a simple, “the Colorado Rockies have concluded that the fan was indeed yelling for Rockies Mascot Dinger in hopes of getting his attention for a photo and there was never any racial slur that occurred.” That should have been followed up with something along the lines of “We are sorry for any inconvenience this caused the fan and you know what, we will organize a photo with you and Dinger.” Instead, they doubled down on the fact that they hate racism.
“The Rockies remain dedicated to providing an inclusive environment for all fans, players and guests at Coors Field, and any fan using derogatory language of any kind will be ejected from Coors Field.” Sure, I am down with that. But the fan didn’t use any of that language. So after a mistake by the Rockies organization and, let’s face it, most of us, the team basically said……”Sure, he didn’t say that terrible thing we would have absolutely roasted him for and banned him for but still……if he would have, we would have been ready.” Come on.
When I heard what I thought the fan yelled I was disgusted. Then after the 3rd or 4th time of listening, before sharing via twitter to display my disgust, I paused. Why was he so hard to find? Why did no fan step up and say or do something? In this day and age where everyone records everything why was this not on twitter EVERYWHERE? Would a fan be this blatantly racist at a Rockies game? Yelling at a player in such an obvious way? I removed my finger from the retweet and decided there had to be more. But many didn’t do that. They simply assumed it was what it was and offered the “Who are we?” and “We have to be better” replies. They thought the worst in people, which I guess is what we are trained to do now. We react, then overreact, then we set fire all in the same breath.
I was watching Brinson explain the video well after it was confirmed that the fan said Dinger and I’ll even admit when Brinson said “Dinger,” I thought, wow….that right there even sounds like the racial slur the fan was accused of saying.
“So I watched the video at least 50 times in the past 15-16 hours,” Brinson said on zoom call. “I watched it a lot, especially when I heard that he said Dinger instead of the N-word.”
“I personally — this is again my personal opinion — I personally keep hearing the N-word. It’s not that I want to hear it, I never want to hear it. Personally I’ve never been called that in person to my face on the baseball field, outside the baseball field, ever, so I don’t know what my reaction would be if I got called that,” he said.
I am not blaming anyone for hearing what they thought they heard. What I am blaming folks for is not sitting on it for a brief moment. I am blaming folks for not at least thinking it odd not one person would offer this man up quickly or say something to him while he was yelling. I am blaming folks for assuming the worst, and firing off those tough guy tweets before any type of “investigation” was completed.
Not everyone is a racist. Not everyone is ok with someone being a racist. Are we so ready to pounce and crucify that we refuse to gather the facts? Do we just assume that this fan yelled that terrible slur, fans ignored it, and it was acceptable behavior? Must we let our thoughts be known so quickly for the sake of getting it out first or letting all know that YOU are not a racist and how bad you think it is to in fact be a racist?
There is evil in this world. There is racism in this world. But do we truly believe EVERYONE is racist? Have we become so toxic towards one another that we just assume the worst? The worst in that fan, the worst in those around him?
Let this be a lesson to us all. Take a breath. If a fan does say that word at a Rockies game and it’s proven without a shadow of a doubt, then yes, let’s ban him/her from games. But can’t we, for one second, sit back and assess? Maybe try not to think the absolute worst in humanity for a change.
And to the Rockies organization. Maybe you’ll issue an apology later this week. I sure hope you do…but if not, shame on you.