Jackie Robinson Statue Vandalized With Racial Slur, Swastika

08/07/2013 03:54 pm ET | Updated Aug 07, 2013

A statue of Jackie Robinson that stands outside the Brooklyn Cyclones stadium in New York City has reportedly been vandalized.

According to NBC News, vandals defaced the statue of the famed baseball player by drawing a swastika and writing "die n----r" and "Hitler" on the Robinson likeness.

According to ABC News, the vandals likely sullied the statue -- which depicts both Robinson and his former Brooklyn Dodgers teammate Pee Wee Reese -- between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.

The New York Police Department hate crimes task force is investigating the incident. Police say they will look closely at video surveillance of the area, according to CBS New York.

Robinson made history in the 1940s as the first African-American to play in Major League Baseball since the league was segregated in 1889. He played with the Brooklyn Dodgers for almost a decade.

When the monument of the two baseball legends -- which shows Reese with his arm around Robinson -- was unveiled on Coney Island in 2005, The New York Times wrote:

The statue captures a significant moment that is much remembered, although the precise details surrounding it are hazy. With Robinson receiving death threats and heckling and taunts from the crowd in a ballpark on the road, Pee Wee Reese walked over to him on the infield at a point either before or during a game and offered a quiet but significant gesture of friendship and comradeship.

"My father had done his own soul searching," said Mark Reese, Pee Wee's son, "and he knew that some fans, teammates, and yes, some family members didn't want him to play with a black man.

"But," Mark Reese added, "my father listened to his heart, and not to the chorus."

As CBS New York notes, the "hateful graffiti" recently emblazoned on the monument "goes against everything the statue stands for."

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