Death Threats to Khari Jones in 2002

The season-long, racist series of threats began with a late-night call to the office of then-team president/CEO, Lyle Bauer.

“I received a death threat via phone at the office one night,” Bauer said in an email exchange, Wednesday morning. “Obviously the caller didn’t think I would be in the office. He actually called me a ‘n—–‘ lover and that I would be killed for that.”

It was around 11 p.m., the racist probably thinking he’d get Bauer’s answering machine. He certainly wouldn’t have expected the reaction he got.

“I told the guy I was at the office by myself and would meet him at the front door,” Bauer recalled.

The perpetrator never showed up.

But soon letters did. Letters Jones has kept for 18 years, but hadn’t looked at for a long time, until he dug them out Wednesday morning.

“There were 12 of them in there that I had,” Jones, on the phone from his home in B.C., said. “It was tough. I had never been through anything like that before.”

The letters were sent to Jones through the Bombers. The gist of the message: Jones and his white wife deserved to die, because he was African-American.

“Bang – I hope someone shoots you,” Jones said, repeating one of the threats.

Police were so concerned officers were assigned to watch the Jones home when the Bombers played on the road.

“The police officers were very, very serious about it, and wanted to make sure the family was safe,” Jones said. “They made sure Justine was protected when I was gone.”

One of the more disturbing ones came soon after the couple welcomed their first child, daughter Jaelyn, into the world.

“When I came home for Jaelyn’s birth, he mentioned that,” Jones said. “He always signed his name the same, which was the wrong name.”

The one letter Jones chose to share is laced with racial slurs and derogatory terms for his wife and child.

It refers to a picture of him and Justine at a Special Olympics celebrity dinner, and closes with a stark warning: “Sooner or later Mr. Jones someone will get sick of your crap and shoot you.”

Police did what they could to track down the writer, but never did.

Another letter came after the Bombers lost the West Final in Edmonton.

It said they lost because they had a black quarterback.

Except it didn’t say “black,” but the ‘n—-‘ word. It was always the ‘n—–‘ word.

article posts the text of one of the letters Jones received.

unfortunately, no matter what progress is achieved, there will always be such idiots in every country. Racism, poverty, crime....such things will always exist and all we can do is fight to reduce them.

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A nut, plain and simple. We will always have nuts of many colours...Maybe the focus should be on the thousands of fans who loved Khari, like myself, instead of the one or two idiots who slither about.

Well given that these letters have been kept quiet for 18 years I don't really think they have been the focus point.
Given whats going on in the world its good to not have Canadians think that there is no racism in our country.

International studies have shown that mental illness is constantly on the rise. It's one of the largest threats to our society. As much as 40% of the world have some sort of mental illness. Many of these illnesses are quite benign, but many aren't also.

Are you tying or deflecting racism over to mental illness here?

Name a Canadian who doesn't think there is any racism in Canada ?...My point is that bringing this stuff up now also let's other idiots know they can do it too and maybe get away with it. You don't give matches to a pyromaniac....

I grew up in downtown Toronto in a country that I am proud to say was the terminus for the underground railway. Black people must understand that there are millions of white people on their side. We will not let this happen and we can stop it. We are dealing with racist idiots who can now use the riots to fan their racist flames. Even the protesting gives these morons fodder.... I like Gandhi's approach.

I would say you have to be either a nut or really stupid to be racist. Maybe it is a type of mental illness. I don't know.

Sadly, IMO, neither is true ... there are very stable and intelligent people who are racist/bigoted ... if they ever could find a medical cause that would be wonderful ... but I fear it is more a question of belief systems ... nurture not nature ... be it from family, friends, experiences, etc.

I agree fully but I still think there has to be something wrong with a person who is racist.

Unfortunately, much mental illness is caused by nurture rather than nature. That, of course, makes it more difficult to treat. There's no pill one can take to undo years of traumatic exposure.

It's a tough balancing act when attributing anti-social behaviour to mental illness borne from trauma. On the one hand, we want to understand the causes so we can mitigate them as much as possible. On the other hand, we want to ensure individuals are held accountable for their behaviour.

Personally I find no correlation between mental illness and racism.
Racists who are not very bright are obvious because they are comfortable throwing around epitaphs. Much more common are those that just hold such beliefs and go about their business.
If we grew up in Canada and have some age we were taught and told that our indigenous populations were lesser than we are. They couldn't go into booze stores, couldn't vote and cannot drink, hold a job and didn't respect property. Forced to go to residential school, suffered at the hands of pedo priests and had their religious celebrations ruled illegal. Do you think we can not hold racists underpinnings with that history of looking at First Nations. I don't.

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I think your points here are pretty spot on.

I do think there is a correlation between mental illness and extreme racism--like taking the time to write out death threat letters to a CFL QB--but perhaps the link is more so between mental illness and extremism in general.

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Yes agree with the mental aspect and it's in all the world . I would say it would be in this individual case as well . It's irrational hate .

Atrocities and wiping out of another tribe are a human problem not just a North American problem .

Black , White , Brown , etc .... is just one level of the hate goes further to religion , culture , language and manifests itself within deep mental states whether psychopathic or paranoid delusional .

The mob culture is the worst and causes the most damage .

Rwanda atrocities or one's recently in Iraq or Syria are a long way off from the streets of the USA or Winnipeg .

Regarding mental health and responsibility for racism and other wrong doings.

AS one who just found out about 10 years ago that I have been suffering from mental illness my whole life, I often muse about this. I often think back to the million things I regret, screwups, etc. I ask myself, what could I have done better. Not what could anyone else have done better in same situation, but what could I have done better, or different? Was I emotionally and psychiatrically capable of making the better choices in that situatiom? At what point does someone with mental illness take responsibility? Obviously each case would have a different answer. If Hitler was totally insane, then how responsible was he?

On the football field we see many acts of loss of self control, brutality, etc. Could some of this be blamed on unknown mental instability from life trauma, head injury, etc. Does this eleaviate responsibily at all? Tough questions to answer.

First, everyone has to stop looking to the past and bringing up how bad their ancestors were treated. I'd bet that we all could do this to some degree. Many of us were not even born when these atrocities happened..The fact that most of the inequalities have stopped now should be celebrated. Of course there are still incidents but compared to the past they are much more rare.

Second, there were very few pedo Priests as you put it. Most of the abuse, a vast majority, was done by homosexual men hiding in the clergy and was committed against adolescent boys, not babies or children.
The Catholic Church is the preferred and easy target while groups that have each committed more abuse and still do, get a free pass. Groups like doctors, teachers, coaches, ministers have a far worse record but for some reason aren't pilloried like Priests.

And that, too, is discrimination. Easy target, unlikely to respond.

I mistakenly made the exact same argument on a NP thread and was viciously attacked as "ignorant."

But those racist idiots would use the lack of protests as proof that there is no problem ... there is no logic with them ... they would somehow use the sun coming up in the east as proof that they are in the right.

then again, sunrise and sunset are myths :slight_smile: