The Boston Red Sox are trying to distance themselves from their former owner. The team has officially filed a petition with the city to change the street name Yawkey Way back to its original name, according to Rob Bradford of WEEI.
In a statement, the team said they are seeking the change in order to be more inclusive.
Red Sox filed a petition to the city to restore the name of Yawkey Way to Jersey Street. Here is a statement from the team: pic.twitter.com/5ILfEDeeoq
— Rob Bradford (@bradfo) February 28, 2018
The full statement reads:
“The Red Sox, with the approval and cooperation of all abutters on Yawkey Way, have filed a petition with the City of Boston Public Improvement Commission requesting that the Yawkey Way street name be restored to its original Jersey Street name. Restoring the Jersey Street name is intended to reinforce that Fenway Park is inclusive and welcoming to all.
It is important to separate the unfortunate and undeniable history of the Red Sox with regards to race and integration from the incredible charitable work the Yawkey Way Foundation has accomplished in the millennium and over the past 16 years. The positive impact they have had, and continue to have, in hospitals, on education programs, and with underserved communities throughout Boston and New England, is admirable and enduring. We have the utmost respect for their mission, leadership, and the institutions they support.
We appreciate the partnership of the other property owners, and the consideration of [sic] city on this important matter.”
The club expressed a desire to change the name of the street last season, when owner John Henry said he was “haunted” over the racial past of the team. Under former owner Tom Yawkey, the Red Sox were the last team to promote an African-American player in the majors.
While the team attempted to make it clear the move was not an indictment on the Yawkey Foundation, the group isn’t too happy about the news. They are asking the city to reject the petition, according to the Boston Herald.
“We urge the commission to consider all the facts concerning Tom Yawkey’s ownership of the Red Sox and the sweep of his life,” the foundation said.
“We are confident that if it does so, it will reject Henry’s petition.”
Part of the impetus behind the team’s decision may have been spurred by an incident in which a fan at Fenway yelled a racial slur at Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones. The team started cracking down on hate speech at the park, ejecting fans using racial slur and banning them from games. The Red Sox also held an event with other New England teams promoting acceptance and inclusivity.
Henry had expressed trying to re-name the street after slugger David Ortiz. That may come in the future. Until then, Red Sox fans should gear up to enter the park on Jersey Street from now on.
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