New York (CBSNewYork) — The vandals who scrawled anti-Semitic and racist slurs on a statue of Jackie Robinson won’t have the last word, said those in attendance at the monument’s rededication ceremony Monday evening at Coney Island.
The statue of Robinson and his Brooklyn Dodgers teammate Pee Wee Reese has been restored after a swastika and the phrases “Heil Hitler,” “die n****r,” “f**k n****r,” and “f**k Jackie Robinson” were found written on it.
City Parks Department worker Joe Drago spent two days power-washing the statue to remove the words of hate.
“It was in my heart to do it,” Drago told WCBS 880’s Jim Smith. “I had to do it.”
Among those attending the ceremony at MCU Park, held just before a doubleheader between the Brooklyn Cyclones and Staten Island Yankees, were former Met Ed Charles and players and representatives from the Jackie Robinson Little League, CBS 2’s Alice Gainer reported.
Those who attended the event said the statue was an important symbol of diversity, unity and Robinson’s courage in breaking baseball’s color barrier in 1947.
Children “see the statue, they come together in unity … ,” said Brian Mills, president of the Jackie Robinson Little League. “I try to teach them within the league, that’s the way they have to play.”
After the games, a free screening of the Robinson biopic “42” was set to be held on the beach.
No one has been charged in the vandalism. A $50,000 reward is being offered to anyone with information leading to an arrest.
“We don’t want to dwell on the punks that committed this act,” said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck reported. “But one thing I want you to know, I want them to be apprehended, and I want them to get their punishments.”
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