NEW YORK – Vandals defaced a statue of Jackie Robinson outside the Brooklyn Cyclones baseball stadium, marking racial slurs and symbols on it, park and police officials said Wednesday.
A swastika, "anti-Semitic comments" and the n-word were written in black marker on the statue and its base sometime between the end of the Cyclones game Tuesday night and 7 a.m. Wednesday morning, according to a spokesman for the New York City Police Department.
The NYPD's Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating the matter as a possible bias incident. The Cyclones and police are reviewing security camera video, hoping it will lead them to a suspect or suspects, said Brooklyn Cyclones Director of Communications Billy Harner.
No arrests had been made (at TSD press time).
The Parks Department has already managed to remove the majority of the graffiti, Harner said. The statue is a likeness of Robinson and teammate Pee Wee Reese.
The Brooklyn Cyclones' stadium is just steps away from Coney Island's famous boardwalk. The team is the minor league club associated with Major League Baseball's New York Mets franchise.
Jackie Robinson was the first African-American baseball player to play with a modern-era Major League Baseball team, the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.
His jersey number, 42, was retired in 1997, though it is still worn by New York Yankees closer, Mariano Rivera.
The film "42," which was released in April, tells Robinson's story of breaking the color barrier in the sport.