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The Writing on the Wall

by Robb Reel

I have always found Boston to be a confounding city.  It's loud and crowded, even for a city on the East Coast.  The streets make absolutely no sense at all.  Its people seem to have a grossly over-inflated sense of self -- seriously, I have never met a modest Bostonian-- and it shows most often in how ridiculously rude the sports fans are there.

Call it "The Cradle of Liberty" all you want, but when stupid decisions like this one  come out of greater Boston, it's tough to not throw that baby out with the bathwater.

One of the ugliest scars for the area, despite its past reputation for freedom, is its racism.  Numerous athletes of color, 11-time NBA champion Bill Russell and baseball Hall of Famer Jim Rice notably among them, have recounted stories of extreme mistreatment in the Boston metro area.  Willie O'Ree broke the National Hockey League's color barrier when he played his first game for the Boston Bruins in 1958 -- 11 years after Jackie Robinson did the same for baseball and before the Red Sox ever had a black player [Elijah "Pumpsie" Green] in 1959 -- and reportedly endured taunts such as "Why aren't you picking cotton?" or "Go back to the South!" showing complete obliviousness to the fact that O'Ree was Canadian.  Unfortunately, that is why I am not surprised by this story:

For more reasons than I care to count, I am ashamed that this stuff still happens.  This is not one of those stories about an empty claim of a phony case of bullying.  This is not even about football; that sport is merely the window through which we get this glimpse at how terrible people can be to one another for the silliest of reasons.  This is not just a careless word hurled from the confluence of ignorance and anger.  This took planning along with the necessary malice to defile the home of Isaac Phillips and his family.  This took genuine hate.

Isaac Phillips did nothing but play football at Lunenburg High School in a northwest suburb of Boston.

"The Cradle of Liberty" indeed.

Maybe it's time for people there to grow up.

This is why I hate Boston.