Boston Red Sox outfielder Carl Crawford claims that a fan taunted him with a racial slur during the third game of an injury rehab assignment with the Portland Sea Dogs (Boston's AA affiliate).
The four-time All-Star mentioned the slur in response to a reporter's question about a fan chanting "overrated" and "overpaid" before his at-bat in the fifth inning. According to Crawford, that fan was the same person who heckled him earlier.
"Talking about that guy, he actually called me a racial slur at the beginning of the game," he said. "He was the only one I had a problem with. But other than that, you know, people in Boston don't even do that. So I don't know what that was about."
In the moment, Crawford let his bat do the talking, hitting a triple to right-center field.
Crawford, who is rehabbing a sprained ligament in his left elbow, didn't specify exactly what the fan said. The 30-year-old actually went on to say that he understands why fans would be upset with him, noting the "the kind of year" he had last year didn't quite justify the $142 million contract he signed with the Red Sox. He batted .255 in 130 games in 2011.
Crawford has heard jeers about his contract before. In a game against the Angels in late April last year, a few Los Angeles fans threw a bunch of $1 bills near the on-deck circle as Crawford was batting.
Unfortunately, racist taunts in sports are nothing new. Last year, Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon had a fan ejected from a spring training game for allegedly yelling racist comments at B.J. Upton.
After Washington's Joel Ward -- a Canadian born to parents who emigrated from Barbados -- scored an overtime goal against the Boston Bruins to send the Capitals to the second round of the postseason, a group of people expressed their anger toward him on Twitter using the N-word.