BOSTON -- John Henry’s support for renaming Yawkey Way has already been muddied by offspring conversations.
MORE ON YAWKEY
- Martone: There's more to Tom Yawkey than what people now know about him
- Red Sox CEO Sam Kennedy: Yawkey Way name makes people uncomfortable
If the team felt so strongly about the matter, why not make a public statement sooner? Is this political pandering for the owner of the Boston Globe? Where do you draw the line in removing Yawkey’s image and ties to the team? What about the MBTA stop?
All the aforementioned discussions are worthwhile, to varying degrees. Red Sox president Sam Kennedy gave some explanations in a conversation with CSNNE on Thursday evening. They won’t satisfy everyone, and they shouldn’t.
But no matter the context, no matter how much the timing may bother some people, those threads do not eliminate the bottom line: The Red Sox have the proper view that Yawkey Way should be renamed because of Tom Yawkey’s legacy of racism.
“The real issue here is, it’s symbolic and it’s something that is powerful and we have heard from many people in the community that it is something that has made folks feel uncomfortable about coming to Fenway,” Kennedy said.
There are people who will dismiss this as rubbish, as made up. If you can’t understand why the street would offend people, it’s hard to have a discussion about this matter at all.
But where do you draw the line, you say?
You take it case by case. You don’t avoid what’s right in one instance because of a discussion of hypotheticals and what follows. This isn’t Constitutional law, this is a community choice about a specific matter.
Keep in mind the decision isn’t final yet, either. A public hearing would be required.
If you want to shame the team for speaking out only now, as Confederate statues ignite controversy across the country, that’s fair. If you think the Red Sox made this choice for the wrong reasons, that’s fair.
But they’re still making the right choice.
Better to do so now than, in say, three months, when it could plausibly appear less connected to a national conversation. (Wouldn’t that be contrived, to wait on behalf of public perception?)
But timing is just another digression. There's a basic question: Should the street be named for Yawkey?
The question's answer isn't difficult: Yawkey’s legacy in baseball was reprehensible. The Yawkey way -- his m.o. running a baseball team -- was one that included notable bigotry.
That doesn’t mean he didn’t do good things, nor does it mean the foundation bearing Yawkey’s name is not tremendously impactful.
We’re talking about how he ran a baseball team, and how he treated people in that endeavor.
In this instance -- say those three words over and over and over -- it makes sense to take Yawkey’s name off an iconic street that greets most every visitor to Fenway Park.