NEW YORK (NY)
July 7, 2020
By Michael Rezendes
Last month, when former Major League All-star Torii Hunter said he’d been called the N-word “a hundred times” at Boston’s storied Fenway Park, the Red Sox were quick to back him up with a promise to fight racism.
“Torii Hunter’s experience is real,” the team said in a June 10 Twitter post, adding that there were at least seven incidents as recently as last year where fans used racial slurs. The team promised to do a better job dealing with racism: “As we identify how we can do better, please know we are listening.”
But those words rang hollow for more than a dozen Black men who have spent the last several years trying to get the Red Sox to listen to their claims that they were sexually abused by a former Red Sox clubhouse manager who died in 2005.
The former clubhouse manager, Donald “Fitzy” Fitzpatrick, pleaded guilty to criminal charges of attempted sexual battery in 2002, admitting that he used Red Sox team memorabilia to lure young, Black clubhouse workers into secluded areas of the team’s Florida spring training facility, where he abused them. Fitzpatrick did not admit to abusing young boys in other ballparks.
Since then, a growing number of men have stepped forward to allege that they, too, were abused by Fitzpatrick at Fenway Park and at major league stadiums in Baltimore and Kansas City, when the Red Sox were playing on the road. Because their claims date to the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, they are too old to be included in civil lawsuits, and the men say their requests for out-of-court settlements have fallen on deaf ears.
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