Yawkey Foundation To John Henry: Drop Dead

yawkey way

Yawkey Way. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

BOSTON (WBZ-AM) -- I’ll say this much for John Henry and the Red Sox – they are true to their word.

Back in August, in the wake of the riot in Charlottesville and the uproar over racially-controversial relics, Henry said he was “haunted” by the past of longtime Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey, under whom the Sox were the last major league team to field a black player.

Henry said he wanted to rename Yawkey Way outside Fenway Park, and yesterday the Sox followed through, petitioning the city to restore the street’s original name. “Restoring the Jersey Street name is intended to reinforce that Fenway Park is inclusive and welcoming to all,” they said in a statement.

The Sox went out of their way to absolve the Yawkey Foundation, created by the Yawkey family, which gives out millions in grants to deserving nonprofit groups. But that wasn’t good enough for the Foundation, which responded with one of the more blistering public statements I have ever seen from a charitable group.

The Red Sox action is “based on a false narrative about Tom Yawkey,” they wrote. John Henry “need only look at the Globe’s archives to see that the team under Tom Yawkey sought to acquire and promote black ballplayers throughout the 1950s.”

And they note that the Sox praised Yawkey’s work as team owner in two applications for historic designation that “resulted in more than $80 million in state and federal tax credits for the Red Sox. There was no hint in the applications for the designations that Yawkey Way would not remain as a testament to Yawkey’s stewardship of the team and the ballpark itself.”

In short, they’re calling Henry a panderer and a phony.

It’s a tough – and persuasive – argument.

Mr. Henry, your move.

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