The words “Heil Hitler” and a swastika, in addition to other racist graffiti, were found spray-painted on the base of the Jackie Robinson statue outside of the Minor League Baseball stadium of the Brooklyn Cyclones on Wednesday.
Robinson was Major League Baseball’s first black player, breaking the sport’s color barrier on April 15, 1947 with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
“The defacement of a public statue with words and symbols of hate is an act of intimidation that affects our entire community,” said Etzion Neuer, Acting New York Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League. “It is that much worse that the attack targeted the statue of Jackie Robinson, an iconic sports legend and an African-American hero who helped to integrate Major League Baseball.”
The Cyclones, an affiliate of the New York Mets, said in a statement, “It is both heartbreaking and deeply disturbing that this statue, which is a symbol of equality and tolerance, has been defaced in such an offensive and hateful way.”