The statue, which features former Dodgers captain Pee Wee Reese putting his arm around Robinson, was marked up with hate speech aimed at African Americans.
"It is tragic that vandals would deface the statue of Jackie Robinson, a symbol of tolerance for people everywhere,” said Carlo Scissura, president of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. “We need Brooklyn, and the community of Coney Island as a whole, to denounce such vandalism and racism at once.”
The statue was covered because the vandalism could not be scrubbed off. It was eventually power washed and sand blasted by the Parks Department. Most of the graffiti was removed prior to the Cylones game against the Connecticut Tigers Wednesday.
“Defacing the Jackie Robinson statue is a dagger in the heart to everything America stands for, and I hope those who are responsible are caught, punished, and taught why what they did is so disgusting and offensive,” said Senator Charles Schumer.
Councilman David Greenfield, State Senator Eric Adams and community activist and City Council candidate Mark Treyger are offering a $1,500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the individual responsible for vandalizing the statue. The Daily News is offering $10,000.
“I am beyond disgusted by the defacing of this monument to tolerance and civil rights in America’s Playground,” said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. “This reprehensible behavior is a direct affront to the millions of Brooklynites that stand for diversity and respect.”
A Cyclones spokesperson said they are looking at surveillance video to identify any suspects. The vandalism is being treated as a hate crime, according to the 60th Precinct.
"Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese embody the humanity and inclusiveness that make our borough, city, and country great", said a statement released by the team. "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."