The Boston Red Sox will be the first of five Boston pro sports teams to air an anti-racism PSA before its games starting Sept. 28. The PSA is titled “Take the Lead” and it comes after a season of high-profile racially charged incidents involving the Red Sox.
According to WEEI, the video features both black and white athletes asking fans to join them in opposing bigoted behavior at pro sporting events. The Boston Celtics, New England Patriots, Boston Bruins and the New England Revolution have all agreed to play the PSA too.
Red Sox CEO Sam Kennedy told the Boston Globe:
“When the incidents in May occurred, one of the first things we recognized was sports teams are high-profile, and we have the opportunity to help lead a high-level discussion around this. We wanted to take the lead in taking a stand against racism.”
In May, Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones said he was taunted with racial slurs by fans at Fenway Park, setting off a week-long drama that eventually involved the likes of Curt Schilling saying he didn’t believe Jones’ story. Soon after, a fan was ejected from Fenway for aiming a racial slur at another fan and was consequently banned for life.
Last week, a group of anti-racism protesters hung a banner at the top of Fenway’s Green Monster which read: “Racism is as American as baseball.”
The Red Sox, meanwhile, have been trying to fight their franchise’s own ties to alleged racism back in the days of Jackie Robinson. The Red Sox were the last MLB team to add a black player to their roster. That happened in 1959, 12 years after Robinson joined the Dodgers. Former owner Tom Yawkey was accused of being a racist back then and it’s something that still doesn’t sit well with current owner John Henry.
Henry said last month that he’d support any efforts to rename Yawkey Way — one of the streets leading into Fenway Park — if other Boston leaders wanted to.
While the Red Sox’s anti-racism stance is commendable all around, it’s sure to be met with objections by at least some fans who will complain about political correctness running amok inside Fenway Park
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