By Beth Treffeisen
As part of a way to address the history of intolerance at Fenway Park, the team principal owner John Henry is working on renaming Yawkey Way.
At a Fenway Red Sox Boston neighborhood meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 14, David Friedman, senior vice president to legal and government affairs for the Red Sox, said the organization is in the works with the City to rename the street, but not after someone famous.
“We are not trying to have it named after another person, but thought it would be natural to have it as a place holding name,” said Friedman.
One idea floating was to revert the street name back to Jersey Street, which was the original name, or to something like Red Sox Way.
“Obviously not everyone is going to be happy with what we choose, but we are trying to be creative,” said Friedman.
The street is named after Tom Yawkey who owned the club from 1933-76. The Red Sox were the last Major League team to cross the color barrier in 1959.
This past season, two racially charged incidents occurred at Fenway Park, spurring the need to do something even more. In May, Orioles outfielder Adam Jones said a fan called him a racist slur during a game, and in the same week, a fan was banned for life after using a variant of the N-word while speaking to another fan about the national anthem singer.
“The Red Sox has zero tolerance,” said Friedman. “After those episodes happened, which were very disturbing, we wondered what else we could do?”
In addition to working with the City to change the street name, the Red Sox has paired up with other major sports teams in the area to create a 30-second public service announcement that will play before every game at Fenway Park, Gillete Stadium and TD Garden.
The video showcases various sports stars asking fans to speak up and say something and to not stand for racism. It ends with the athletes saying, “If we all take the lead together, hate falls behind.”
Friedman said, “This is not the answer to the problem, but it is a step towards it.”