Adam Jones said that he was called the N-word several times at Fenway Park this week.
Albert Breer’s response? Prove it.
“I’m very proud of (Jones),” former MLB pitcher Dontrelle Willis said on CBS Sports Radio’s Reiter Than You. “I’m very, very proud of him. It needs to be addressed. I thought we were past all this. For Breer to say, ‘Prove it,’ it’s really sad. I don’t need to prove it. I don’t need to make it up. I wouldn’t want to make this story up.”
Breer is a reporter for TheMMQB. His skepticism of Jones’ account has been criticized.
“We’re just addressing the issue because we want it to stop,” Willis said. “We want it to change, and there needs to be some (dialogue). If not, these things are going to continue to happen. (Jones has) got guts. He’s got guts. He’s someone that’s going to speak his mind, speak his truth. That’s the reason why I love him. To be honest with you, I’m ashamed of myself that I didn’t come out sooner about this, addressing things like that. But at the same time, when you’re making so much money and you just want to play baseball and you’re so used to it and numb to it that you kind of fall back into a shell.
“But again, I’m proud of him,” Willis said. “He’s the captain of that team, he’s a leader, he’s involved in many communities – not only in Baltimore, but in San Diego where he’s from. And he just got tired of it. Again, I support him 100 percent, just like I support my white players.”
Willis, 35, was a two-time All-Star and won a World Series with the Marlins in 2003. He said he was the victim of racial taunts during his career, adding that his white teammates were more angered by it than him.
“They’ve lost it more than I have,” Willis said. “I’ve had to calm them down. They understand that this is not right, this is not fair, and you can’t just demean someone because of the color of their skin. It’s just not right. It shouldn’t be tolerated anywhere, let alone on a baseball field, especially when we’re just trying to do our jobs and have fun.”
In other Red Sox news, Willis was asked about the unwritten rule of headhunting in Major League Baseball, specifically as it pertains to Manny Machado.
“Well, it’s always been part of the game and it always will be part of the game,” Willis said. “It’s definitely (about) team camaraderie and really just telling your own teammate, ‘Hey, I have your back’ – and within reason. I don’t like any pitches above the head. Anytime balls have sailed out of my hand above the head, I’ve always made sure to address that right there and then, and I’ve always gotten the same respect back in that sense. But it’s always been a part of the game.”
Willis stood up for teammates during his career, especially in Detroit.
“I’ve always had to protect Miguel (Cabrera),” he said. “He was hit a lot. A lot of guys were hit on our team. Especially being on a team that’s kind of a young up-start, you have to do those type of things – not only for your ball club, but just to send a message like, ‘Hey, you’re not going to be able to push us around.’ I’m all about that – within reason.”