The bigot in the stands, and other stories

Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles heard a racial slur hurled at him from the stands at Fenway this year, triggering national coverage of racism in Boston.
Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles heard a racial slur hurled at him from the stands at Fenway this year, triggering national coverage of racism in Boston. –Charles Krupa / AP

The series was reported by Adrian Walker, ​Nicole Dungca, ​Akilah Johnson, Liz Kowalczyk, Andrew Ryan, Todd Wallack and editor Patricia Wen. Today’s story was written by Walker.

When a Washington Redskins player this fall complained that some fans shouted the n-word at him during a game in Kansas City, some big things happened quickly.

The media swarmed the story, the controversy went viral, and the NFL began an investigation. But one thing didn’t result: Almost no one asked if Kansas City is a racist place.

In Detroit, a Lions fan used that same slur against black fans in a Snapchat post during a game — yet subsequent media coverage did not frame Detroit as a bigoted city.

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And in Pittsburgh, a local fire chief became enraged over the Steelers’ participation this year in the national anthem protests. He posted to Facebook derogatory comments, including the n-word, about the team’s head coach, who is black.

A brief furor ensued, the chief resigned, and that pretty much was the end of it.

Boston is different. But you knew that.

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