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John Henry Wants To Change Yawkey Way to Big Papi Way

In times when its easy to join in with the bad, good men take tough stances in hopes of breaking away from the outdated and ushering in a more inclusive, united approach. 

While racial and philosophical battles rage on to remove confederate flags and erase or preserve some of the vile history America harbors, Red Sox principal owner John Henry is tired of his town being synonymous with racism and oppression. 

He says hes still haunted by the racist legacy of his legendary predecessor Tom Yawkey, and Henry told the Boston Herald that his franchise welcomes renaming Yawkey Way. 

It would be the first step in re-branding and modernizing the Jersey Street extension outside Fenway Park that was renamed to honor the former owner in 1977.

Michael Silverman on Twitter

BREAKING: John Henry: Red Sox ready to change name of “Yawkey Way.” He’s “haunted” by racist legacy of ex-owner. https://t.co/tfS60z66Qg

An owner, whose claim to fame was being the best rich racist in baseball. A tainted member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, Yawkey was in control during a 12-season stretch from 1947-58, in which the Red Sox watched every other team in Major League Baseball integrate before they became the last club to do so in 1959 with the signing of Pumpsie Green

Bostonherald.com reports that if it were up to Henry, he would rename the street David Ortiz Way or Big Papi Way. 

Now thats progressive thinking. Let the monuments and the street names also reflect a changing and more diverse America. Preserving the past is great, but acknowledging the now is what sports is all about. Besides for a few purists and stubborn folks, Henrys biggest stumbling block will be petitioning the City of Boston for approval.

Trevor Parrinello on Twitter

Are there really people mad that they’re changing the name of Yawkey way? https://t.co/MJEIfGdgfw

The Red Sox dont control the naming or renaming of streets, Henry told the Herald in an email. But for me, personally, the street name has always been a consistent reminder that it is our job to ensure the Red Sox are not just multi-cultural, but stand for as many of the right things in our community as we can particularly in our African-American community and in the Dominican community that has embraced us so fully. The Red Sox Foundation and other organizations the Sox created such as Home Base have accomplished a lot over the last 15 years, but I am still haunted by what went on here a long time before we arrived.

A spokesperson for Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said, The mayor is supportive of this change.

Henry also received praise from prominent members of the Boston NAACP for considering this. 

No need to review Bostons racial history in sports. From passing on signing Jackie Robinson  to outfielder and coach Tommy Harpers 1986 Elks Club anti-discrimination lawsuit to Black Ace David Price reportedly hearing racial taunts while warming up in the bullpen at Fenway last year and culminating in May with the Adam Jones incident in Fenway Park in which the African-American outfielder had peanuts thrown at him and was called Nigger by fans. 

There’s no chill coming, but there is hope. Renaming Yawkey Way wont end racism in Boston, but it shows an effort by the owner of the towns most coveted sports franchise to set a tone of intolerance for any form of discrimination moving forward. 

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