Like what you see? Follow me on Twitter.
Professor Jacobson at Legal Insurrection has performed a great service with his examination of the Southern Poverty Law Center, its role as self-appointed arbiter of "hate groups," and its, shall we say, expansive definition of them. Instapundit, Power Line and Stacy McCain have brought attention to this issue as well, and I'm glad they have, because they've really opened my eyes to something that has been staring me in the face for years:
The Boston Red Sox are a hate group.
I had always thought the Red Sox and their fans were just fellow citizens peacefully exercising their rights, including the right to express opinions with which I disagree. How blind I was.
Based on the crtiteria of the SPLC, the Boston Red Sox and their followers are a textbook example of a hate group, and it's high time somebody did something about it.
According to the SPLC, "hate groups have beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics," with said practices including "criminal acts, marches, rallies, speeches, meetings, leafleting or publishing."
It's as though they crafted that definition with the Red Sox in mind.
The Red Sox' history of intolerance is a matter of public record:
They were the last major league team to add a black player to their roster - in 1959, a full dozen years after Jackie Robinson broke Major League Baseball's color barrier. In fact, Robinson was already in his third year of retirement by the time the Red Sox integrated. And when they finally did integrate, their first black player was Pumpsie Green, a light-hitting utility infielder who wouldn't take a lot of at-bats or attention from the rest of the roster.
The New York Giants helped themselves to Willie Mays; the Milwaukee Braves grabbed Hank Aaron; the Chicago Cubs had Ernie Banks; the Cincinnati Reds got Frank Robinson; and the Boston Red Sox answered with... Pumpsie Green. In a five-year career, Pumpsie Green batted .246, hit just 13 home runs, and was caught stealing almost as often as he was successful (12 steals in 22 attempts). What was he even doing on a major league roster? The Red Sox may call it progress. I call it the soft bigotry of low expectations.
Today, the Red Sox' legacy of hatred is alive and well; only the target of their intolerance has changed. The Red Sox and their followers regularly attack and malign anyone with even the most remote affiliation with the New York Yankees, with special vitriol reserved for Yankee fans.
And this is hardly a new phenomenon; it's been going on for decades while the SPLC and the government have turned a blind eye.
I grew up in New England as a Yankee fan surrounded by the intolerance of Red Sox fans. In the Summer of 1978 I came out to my friends, but instead of their empathy and support I encountered nothing but scorn and derision. The intensity of their blind hatred was driven home that September; the day after the Yankees defeated the Red Sox in a one-game playoff on the strength of Bucky Dent's famous home run, a gang of pre-teen Red Sox fans trashed my bike in retribution.
Think about it: pre-teens. This hate begins at home. And nobody makes "It Gets Better" videos for young Yankees fans in New England.
"Ah," you say, " but being a Yankees fan is hardly an immutable characteristic."
I concede that as with, say, sexual orientation, science has yet to identify definitive proof of any biological origin of Yankee fandom, but in my heart I believe I was born this way.
My family later moved to a region dominated by fans of a different team, and I did my best to fit in, but it never felt right. It was an expansion team, with a cookie-cutter stadium, tacky colors and a buffoonish mascot. Oh, I went to some games; I even bought a cap and wore it around. But deep down, I knew I was living a lie. In time I learned to love myself for who I am. And I am a proud Yankees fan.
And for the Boston Red Sox and their fans, that makes it OK to "attack and malign" me and everyone like me. Going down the SPLC checklist:
Marches and rallies? Check. Note the personal attack on Yankees Shortstop Derek Jeter:
Meetings? The Red Sox and their fans hold in excess of 80 large meetings every year in their home base of Boston, a similar number in major metropolitan areas around the country, and a number of smaller ones in Florida during late Winter. Crowd psychology only adds fuel to the Red Sox' fire of hatred:
Publishing? Here we find the smoking gun, for in the internet age, the residue of the Red Sox' hatred never fully washes away. Here is a sampling of the sort of comments to be found on this hate group's website:
From a discussion entitled "Yankees fans are d.o.u.c.h.e bags":
"Yankees fans are lacking in both tact and taste. Not to mention intelligence. Oh and did I mention class? Yeah none of that either."
Others perpetuate wild conspiracy theories about Yankees fans trying to convert others to our "lifestyle choice":
"He wants to convert my poor dogs to be Yankees fans, imagine that? Can't get me so he goes after the youngsters!"
A few other selected comments:
"I"ve always thought that Mets fans had one really postive characteristic ... they hate the Yankees. Anyone who hates the Yankees can't be all bad"
"I live in central NY and love the sox..hate the yankees."
"It's good to be away from some of those yankees fans"
But the fish rots from the head down, as they say, so bear in mind that the Red Sox President himself, Larry Lucchino, described the Yankees in 2002 as "the evil empire."
As should be obvious to any unbiased observer, the Boston Red Sox "have continued to pump out demonizing propaganda aimed at" the Yankees and Yankee fans, engaged in the "propagation of known falsehoods" about them, and have encouraged, abetted and participated in "repeated, groundless name-calling."
I, for one, eagerly look forward to the SPLC shining a bright light on this cesspool of hatred and exposing the Red Sox for what they really are by listing them as a hate group.