(Joey Abs, Rodney and Pete Gas would like to see your beach card)
The spouses of former New York Mets Bobby Bonilla and George Foster claim they were barred from a Greenwich, CT town beach on racial grounds. From the Greenwich Times’ Neil Vigdor (link courtesy Repoz and Baseball Think Factory)
The women, who are the wives of town residents and baseball greats Bobby Bonilla and George Foster, say they were hassled at the park’s gate and ultimately turned away because they are Puerto Rican and black, respectively.
The town requires beach-goers to have a beach card or a $10 daily admission pass to enter Greenwich Point, which Houston’s investigation in June said the women were not carrying. Beach cards, which are only available to residents, cost $25 for the season and include free parking for vehicles registered in town.
The players’ wives also claimed that park employees discriminated against members of their exercise group who did have beach cards by telling them to disband.
Town officials dismissed the women’s claims, saying that group activities such as fitness boot camps are generally prohibited because of liability reasons.
But in the most recent e-mails obtained last week by Greenwich Time, the womens’ personal trainer Jason Hall and Greenwich Affirmative Action officer Kelly Houston allude to the role race may have played in the incident.
“You know Kelly ,I have two groups of women down there and one group hasn’t had a problem and the other has had nothing but trouble,” Hall wrote on June 8. “You can imagine what the difference is between the groups can’t you? Tell me I’m wrong.”
In addition to speculating why the women were not allowed to exercise at the beach, Houston’s reply to the e-mail included some advice for the trainer.
“Seeing a group of Black people that they do not know is going to draw attention,” she wrote. “I do think that you can use the facilities. However you will have to be discreet and if you are asked you are going to have to say you are just working out with friends. If you are doing a black group, you are going to need to cut your numbers down. Welcome to Greenwich!”