Boston Red Sox Support the Black Lives Matter Movement
The billboard was put up as an acknowledgment of the team’s commitment to the Black Lives Matter movement. The Red Sox and Fenway Sports Management agreed that the most successful way for their organization to affect change was to concentrate their attention internally, within their own organization, in 2020, with a renewed focus on social justice, equality, and inclusion on and off the field. The Red Sox and The Red Sox foundation use their public platforms to promote the importance of racial and social causes, but their main focus is to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion within their community and with their field staff. Having organizations come together to publicize their support and feelings about the injustices that have occurred allows voices to be heard.
The Black Lives Matter sign was put up shortly after George Floyd’s death on May 25, 2020. The death of George Floyd was the peak for many people and institutions to show their utmost respect and support to the Black Lives Matter movement. The Boston Red Sox are supportive of the fight, the fight for equality. This sign expresses the active stance they are taking against racism and police brutality. Many people who are not black will pass by this huge billboard and get offended or feel some type of way because it is directed to black people and black people only. It is very common to hear “all lives matter” because people are supporting the black lives matter movement and not including all of the other lives. In an article written by Chris Simkins mentions what an activist, Nkechi Taifa had to say about this particular saying, ‘“It is not to say that all lives do not matter. What it means is that specific attention at this period, at this time, needs to be placed on people who are most adversely impacted by the laws and policies that are going on,’ she said,” (Simkins). If all other lives are being treated equally and are able to practice their freedom rights, then focus on those who are fighting and have been fighting for a long time. The more people that show support to the movement, the more change can happen.
The Boston Red Sox have had a problematic history of racism including racial discrimination and racial slurs that some players have faced or witnessed. In a Boston News report written by Deyscha Smith she states that “Retired outfielder Torii Hunter admitted that he has been called the N-word by younger fans several times, and admitted that he has heard more racist remarks in Boston than any other city in the country,” (Smitch). This gave The Red Sox a bigger reason to support the Black Lives Matter even more. Since they’ve had players experiencing racial inequality, they hope to get a powerful message across using their big platform. In a Boston News article written by Deyscha Smith, team president and CEO Sam Kennedy states, “We’re committed to amplifying powerful messages for progress and fighting against inequality and injustice at every turn,” (Smith). The Red Sox want to see change, so they are in it together with all other African and Black Americans fighting for their lives.
Many people across the world have been supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and doing things in remembrance of all innocent lives that have been lost. An article published by The Economists states, “Events over the past six months, she says, have brought a rare chance to shape national affairs. Protests flared across America after footage spread of the death of George Floyd, an African-American who was choked for nearly nine minutes by a policeman in Minneapolis in May. By one count over 8,500 civil-rights demonstrations have taken place since,” (Economist). There are also people against this movement. Not everyone will be in favor of the Boston Red Sox for supporting the movement and being a part of the change. Some fans were very upset about the banner that was put up and these were some of the things that they had to say published on Complex,“‘All done now! What the hell does this have to do with baseball Sports used to be my happy place. You just screwed that up. I'm done!,’ ‘Thanks for the memories. I’m blessed to have seen a lot of great play at Fenway. I will not support any organization that supports Marxism & uses destruction to implement it,’ ‘I wish you wouldn’t have done that,” (Rose). This clearly shows that racism is real and it is still around up to this day.
The Boston Red Sox dealt with backlash and addressed it, but their fans are a part of the problem. They wanted to do a good deed and stand with those whose voices are not being heard. They also want to show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement throughout their baseball season. A fan tweeted “BLM vision is not about black lives, it’s about tearing down the country to replace it with some gobblygook ideas,”. There is always going to be different opinions all around, but the Boston Red Sox did what they thought was right in support of the Black Lives Matter Movement.
"The George Floyd effect; Black Lives Matter." The Economist, 12 Dec. 2020, p. 29(US). Gale General OneFile, link.gale.com/apps/doc/A644479772/ITOF?u=mlin_c_fitchcol&sid=ITOF&xid=0d023984.
Simkins, Chris. 'Black Lives Matter' Movement Seeks Reforms to End Police Brutality. Federal Information & News Dispatch, LLC, Washington, 2015. ProQuest,https://fitchburgstate.idm.oclc.org/login?url=https://www-proquest-com.fitchburgstate.idm.oclc.org/reports/black-lives-matter-movement-seeks-reforms-end/docview/1752211437/se-2?accountid=10896.
Smith, Deyscha. Sam Kennedy Explained the 'Black Lives Matter' Billboard Outside Fenway Park. 23 July 2020,www.boston.com/sports/boston-red-sox/2020/07/23/sam-kennedy-response-black-lives-matter-billboard-fenway-park.
Asmelash, L. (2020, July 23). The Boston Red SOX put up a Black Lives matter billboard over the Massachusetts Turnpike. Retrieved April 02, 2021, from https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/22/us/boston-red-sox-black-lives-matter-trnd/index.html
Rose, Jordan. “Boston Fans Called Out Over Racist Comments Following Red Sox Black Lives Matter Banner.” Complex, Complex, 23 July 2020, www.complex.com/sports/2020/07/boston-fans-called-out-over-racist-comments-red-sox-black-lives-matter-banner.