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Sam Kennedy on D&K says Red Sox don't view visiting White House as political trip

Alex Reimer
December 04, 2018 - 2:54 pm

Red Sox president Sam Kennedy, who touts the team’s inclusive ideals, says visiting the architect of the Muslim Travel Ban and the biggest proponent of the Border Wall for a celebratory White House trip isn’t political. 

In an interview with “Dale & Keefe” Tuesday, Kennedy explained why the Red Sox decided to accept the White House invitation, which he says was extended last month.

“We don’t see it as a political event,” he said. “Clearly, when you go to the White House, it’s an honor and a privilege, and one we take very, very seriously. It has never been, from our perspective, an endorsement of a politician, or policy, or procedures. As I said, we’ve gone under Republican administrations, Democrat administrations. What happens from here is not up to us. We just continue to try to run the franchise with the best eye on long-term decision making and doing what’s right for our players and fans. We understand some may disagree with this decision. We completely respect that. We’ve got 330 men and women within the organization. Certainly, people will have different personal opinions, but this is one of those moments where you try to put personal opinions aside and do what’s best for the organization. This is a team that deserves to be celebrated, they deserve the recognition that they’ve gotten and will continue to get.”

There was some doubt as to whether the Red Sox would visit the capital, but Kennedy says there was no disagreement among the team’s brass about how to handle the matter. Everyone wanted to go.

“It was actually relatively an easy decision,” he said. “One of the things that Alex Cora and I talked about and Dave Dombrowski talked about on the flight on the way back from Los Angeles was this very issue. We thought we would try and be proactive and those guys were fully on-board, and I was on-board, and John Henry and Tom Werner, who make a lot of the major decisions facing the franchise, were on-board. We talked a lot about it, but there was no disagreement –– quite the opposite. We wanted to be consistent with our policy. It’s an honor to be invited, and we went after ’04, ’07 and ’13 under different administrations and individuals. We see it as a continuation of that policy, which has really been quite an experience for those players who have gotten to participate.”

Kennedy would not say whether any players or coaches have already decided to skip the trip. Alex Cora, who called Trump’s doubts about the Hurricane Maria death toll in Puerto Rico “disrespectful,” pledges he will use the White House visit platform in the “right way.”

Kennedy reiterated that message on D&K, saying the Red Sox will always try to combat hate speech and promote inclusion. “It’s no secret we try to take a strong stance on what we feel are important issues facing the team,” he said. “Issues being inclusive policies and procedures that affect our players at the ballpark when it comes to hate speech and other practices. We were strong in the transgender bill. So we try to be guided about what’s best for the operation of the club and ballpark, but we do try to stay away from politics whenever possible.”

As someone who is not a member of a vulnerable group, Kennedy has the luxury of saying the White House visit is apolitical. A member of the LGBTQ community, who’s seen this administration slash federal protections, may disagree.

We’ll see how many players do as well.