Eagles Field in Bluffton tagged with profanity, racial slurs

astice@islandpacket.comJanuary 18, 2012 

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The painted profanity and racial slurs he discovered last week at the Sam Bennett Sports Complex is like nothing Zeke Frazier Sr. has seen in 30 years as a Bluffton Eagles baseball player, coach and manager.

Frazier said the graffiti continues a series of break-ins and acts of vandalism that have hit the concession stand and shed.

Supporters of the property on Buck Island Road formerly known as Eagles Field are still working out the details on removing obscenities scrawled in white paint on the green dugout and other areas without damaging monuments and plaques.

"We've had equipment and stuff stolen, but never anything like this," said Fred Hamilton, chairman of the Bluffton Eagles Action Committee, which oversees the 14-acre property. "The N-word is used and (an expletive) is everywhere."

None of the graffiti appears affiliated with gangs, which suggests it could be the work of juveniles, said Staff Sgt. Tony Sharron of the Bluffton Police Department. The damage is estimated at $300.

A program started by the Police Department in 2010 should help with cleaning up the property, he said.

Through the department, victims of graffiti vandalism can receive a voucher redeemable at one of three paint stores participating in the program. The voucher entitles property owners to advice about removing or painting over the damage and offers a discount on products.

The department started the program after a rise in graffiti several years ago. There were 28 reports of graffiti in 2008 and 35 in 2009.

In 2010, the year the program started, there were 13 incidents. The number fell to nine in 2011, Sharron said.

Removing graffiti is the best way to prevent a reoccurrence, he added. "Eventually they stop and do it someplace where it doesn't get painted over again."

Hamilton said supporters will work to restore the graffiti-ridden areas this week.

The field is home to the Bluffton Eagles and the B-Town Hawks baseball teams, which compete in the S.C. Lowcountry Baseball League. It is not used often in the off-season, except for a group that recently began playing flag football on Sundays, Hamilton said.

The league's origins included teams consisting mostly of local blacks. Nowadays, however, there are more white players than black ones, Hamilton said.

"There's never been any (incident) that would show racial tension on either part that I can think of," Hamilton said.

Follow reporter Allison Stice at twitter.com/LCBlotter.

Related content

  1. Man behind Bluffton Eagles baseball team dies, March 16, 2010
  2. Bluffton police, paint stores launch program to cover graffiti, Aug. 26, 2010
  3. Father, son make Eagles a tradition, May 25, 2006

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