After Baltimore Orioles‘ Adam Jones was taunted with racial slurs at Fenway Park earlier in the season, the MLB has decided to implement a fan code of conduct in 2018.
The Baltimore Orioles and all other MLB teams already have codes of conduct at their ball parks. But, those codes vary slightly from park to park.
The MLB’s code of conduct will be universally used at every MLB park and will be in effect at every game.
Creating a universal code of conduct
The Camden Yards code of conduct can be found here. In a nutshell, the code includes words about not interfering with other fans’ enjoyment. What is not included in the code is the way that fans treat the players.
According to an article from ESPN by Scott Lautner about the new fan code, the MLB would be copying what the other three big leagues have done. The NFL, NBA, and NHL all have universal codes. Lautner reported:
"“The NBA mandates that fans who don’t comply with its standards of behavior are subject to ejection, revocation of season tickets and possible arrest or prosecution if they’re found to be in violation of city ordinances.”"
Responding to hate speech
After the horrible experience that Jones had at Fenway Park, the Boston Red Sox did change their fan code of conduct. Lautner reported that the Red Sox did add hate speech as a reason why fans could be ejected from the game. Fans could receive lifetime bans from Fenway for behavior that involves hate speech. And, they sho
No one whether a baseball player, fan, or any person, in general, should be at the receiving end of hate speech. Since this is a real problem in the world today, it is appropriate for the MLB to implement universal rules at all 30 parks. Fans should never feel like they are being intimidated when they are trying to enjoy a baseball game. And, the same should go for players who are doing their job.
Imagine if a random stranger entered your workplace and started to spew hate speech at you. It would not be appropriate at any workplace – even an MLB ballpark.
No excuse for bad behavior
It is too bad that Adam Jones had to be treated the way he was by people at Fenway. Fans who cannot behave themselves at ballparks deserve the punishments that they get. Bob Nightengale from USA Today covered the incident back in May. He reported that Jones had received racial taunts at Fenway in previous visits, but the incident on May 1, 2017 was the worst by far.
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As a baseball fan who attends between 20 and 40 games annually in different parks around the league, I have only seen a handful of fans ejected from those parks. I have seen a few fans run out on the field – those result in arrests and immense fines. I have also heard plenty of fans chirp at players, but never with racial slurs. I’ve been to games where players have been booed at home. I’ve heard plenty of fans tell players “You suck.” I have never seen a fan throw anything at a player on the field – and I hope I never do.
Just watch the game and have fun
Even though most fans come to games and never cause any commotion and never will, it is wise for the MLB to take a stand in this way. Players should never be treated the way that Adam Jones was treated. Fans shouldn’t have to be around that type of behavior from other fans, too.
The MLB is doing a good thing by implementing rules about hate speech and fan codes of conduct. Hopefully, the MLB will properly educate fans on the code of conduct so that everyone, from players to fans, can enjoy the game.