“F–k Jackie Robinson and all N–gers.”
Those are the words that were discovered at the base of the Jackie Robinson statue outside Cyclones Stadium in Brooklyn, N.Y., Wednesday morning. According to the Daily News, which showed close-up pictures of the graffiti, there were also swastikas drawn on the monument. While the New York City Police Department looked into the matter as a possible hate crime, park workers were still trying to remove the damage from the statue.
After the graffiti was discovered, a crew of workers scrubbed clean the legs of the statue ahead of the team’s 11 a.m. game. The Parks Department had to be called in to try to erase the swastika and other messages on the statue’s stone base.
“We had 7,000 fans coming to the game and the vast majority were kids from local camps,” said Billy Harner, spokesman for the Cyclones, a minor-league affiliate of the Mets.
Most of the scrawling was gone by late morning, but part of the base was still hidden from public view by a garbage bag Wednesday night.
The statue, which was erected in 2005, depicts a significant moment between Jackie Robinson and his Brooklyn Dodgers teammate Pee Wee Reese.
Robinson, the first black man to play in the major leagues, was met with a barrage of racist taunts and death threats when he strode out onto Cincinnati’s Crosley Field during his rookie year in 1947.
Without warning, Reese walked over to first base from shortstop. He slung his glove hand around Robinson’s shoulders in a gesture of friendship — and glared at the hecklers inside the Cincinnati dugout and those filling the stands above.