Thursday, April 12, 2001

Reds urge end to violence

Players both upset, surprised

By Chris Haft
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        PITTSBURGH — The Reds reacted to news of the Cincinnati riots Wednesday in the wake of the Timothy Thomas shooting with a mixture of acceptance and dismay.

        Playing here and in Milwaukee since the unrest began has prevented the Reds from closely following developments and, thus, from taking a stand on issues. But most players were generally aware of what was happening. And they didn't like it.

        “You'd never think that would happen in a city like Cincinnati,” reliever Danny Graves said. “It's easier to imagine something like that happening in Los Angeles or New York.”

        Without supporting the protesters, left fielder Dmitri Young said he understood how their anger could erupt.

        “They're standing up for what they believe in,” Young said. The Reds begin a five-game homestand Tuesday against Milwaukee.

        “Let's just hope it's done and over with by then,” Graves said. “I'd be scared to drive to the stadium.”

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        News of the protests brought up unpleasant memories for a few Reds. Third baseman Aaron Boone recalled his freshman year at Southern California, when riots erupted following the Rodney King verdict in 1992.

        “I remember looking out my dorm windows and seeing fires all around campus,” Boone said.

        Third base coach Ron Oester, who is white, was a 1974 graduate of Withrow, which he said had a student body that was 65 percent black at that time. Oester remembered a few situations that came “close to” escalating into race riots.

        Of the potential for such events, Oester said, “I think it (exists) anywhere, really.”

        Some Reds spoke not of the protests specifically, but of their disgust that racial discord remains a fact of life.

        “That should have been dead a long time ago,” second baseman Pokey Reese said. “I don't want to get caught up in that stuff.”

        Said Young: “It's 2001. People still thinking like that. ... That stuff's beneath me.”


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Grand jury will probe shooting
NAACP's Mfume, city leaders meet today
Citizens terrorized by violence
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Luken offers support to damaged areas
Ministers rally, then walk the streets
Panel's view: What should the city do next?
PULFER: Refusing to give up on the city
Residents try to comprehend destruction
Violence a sign of unsolved problems
Arrests mostly of young males
Bengal Basnight wants to help stop violence
- Reds urge end to violence
Parker: Problems have better solutions
Image worries downtown merchants
School activities address unrest