A statue of groundbreaking African-American baseball star Jackie Robinson was vandalized today in Brooklyn.
In a statement by the NYPD, detective John Nevandro of the 60th precinct has said the incident "is being treated as a bias crime... Hate Crimes will investigate the incident."
A manager of the MCU baseball park in Coney Island discovered the vandalism around 8:30 this morning. The messages "Heil Hitler," "F--k Jackie Robinson," "Die n----r," and "f--k n----r" were written at the base in black marker. Although the messages put directly on the statue were able to removed, the writing on the solid stone base was unable to be removed. The NYPD is reportedly sending someone to retreat the base. In the meantime, the park employees covered up the offending messages.
Sports Illustrated reports Billy Harner, director of communications for the Brooklyn Cyclones, as saying that the statue "is a symbol of tolerance. It's an absolute tragedy that someone would deface it the way they did... We’re going to go through surveillance video to see if we can come across any information that will assist them in their investigation." The vandalism apparently took place after Tuesday night's Cyclones game.
Police around MCU Park after somebody wrote swastikas and racial slurs on the Jackie Robinson statue last night pic.twitter.com/Vx1EM8KZcZ
— Greg Thompson (@gregthompson27) August 7, 2013
Reuters notes that the statue, which includes a gesture of former Brooklyn Dodgers player Pee Wee Reese embracing his teammate Jackie Robinson, memorializes a moment that took place before a game in Cincinnati. At what was a sensitive time for baseball fans, Reese's move was seen as assisting a segregated public in accepting a black player into the modern world of baseball. The moment was recently recreated for the film "42."
— Tim Fleischer (@TimFleischer7) August 7, 2013
Main image courtesy Twitter.