BOSTON (CBS) — The city’s five professional sports teams are getting together to combat racism after a slew of incidents that raised the issue of race in Boston sports.
As part of the program, players from the Celtics, Red Sox, Patriots, Bruins, and Revolution will be featured in public service announcements that address racism.
Race has been a focus in Boston since the spring, when Orioles outfielder Adam Jones faced racist slurs while playing at Fenway Park.
The issue of racism also prompted Red Sox owner John Henry to suggest a name change for Yawkey Way in responce to the Red Sox former owner Tom Yawkey’s reluctance to put black players on the field.
And last week, an anti-racist banner was unfurled atop the Green Monster.
Tanisha Sullivan, the head of the Boston chapter of the NAACP, told WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens that it’s just the beginning of an effort in the city to move forward in a civilized, intelligent way on a difficult issue.
“Sports is a unifier, and certainly professional athletes play a unique role in our society,” Tanisha Sullivan, the head of the Boston chapter of the NAACP. “They are seen as role models by many.”
Later this month, there will be a forum moderated by WBZ-TV Sports Director Steve Burton and Boston minister and former news anchor Liz Walker.
Walker said that, when a message about racism comes from your favorite sports hero, it carries more weight.
“If a baseball player who is my hero is talking about this, then maybe I’ll listen more than I would if just an ordinary preacher or that person in the community is talking about it,” Walker said.
She added that the important thing is to have a civil, respectful discussion about race.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens reports