OMF - Sam Kennedy on Yawkey Way renaming: “This is about moving forward,” 4-26-18

Ordway, Merloni & Fauria
Thursday, April 26th

Sam Kennedy joined the show and discussed the plan to change the name of Yawkey Way to Jersey Street. He said this change is about moving forward as an organization and making the “distinction between an unfortunate past” and the current community. He emphasized the desire to make the Fenway Park front door welcoming to everyone. The guys challenged Kennedy on the way the team is treating Tom Yawkey’s reputation and he reiterated the team just wants to move forward.


Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

All of you win eight. Peace or where homer and moaning and 48. Right now on Sports Radio WEEI. I've got it all and they appear till 2 o'clock we'll get back and it rockets of football league in the NFL draft coming up tonight and the Bruins in the scene but right now it's got some Red Sox. President of foe and CEO of the Boston Red Sox in Kennedy joins Sam. Yeah I am. I've before we start talking about the young football team let's talk about what happened today with a public improvement commission. You guys along with the neighborhood. Went into the commission and asked them to change the name. Of yawkey way back to Jersey straightened today they did exactly that. So of course I've got with this one a Sammy is and I grew up in this town like you do it. And I heard a lot of the stories about Tom jockey. So it it's not like we're not talking about something that is out there but the foundation made a strong argument. The a lot of that was to use the item the truck turned fake news that a lot of it was not re. What evidence do you guys now. That the previous owner of the Boston Red Sox was a racist and therefore deserve to change the name his name away from a street. That is adjacent to Fenway Park. Well this was really more client about clarifying. A vision. For the future and we're really focused on growing region. Expanding our communities. This was about relationships with people's conversations with community leaders fighters. Are Red Sox alumni. Frankly most importantly. Our employees. We cared deeply about arc. To choose from especially. Those that come to work extremely Clark junior day silk as storms in the strategize. And obligation to listen to our. Constituency and especially our employees. Be sure that we're doing everything we can each and every day at hardware. You're here how we answer to everything about it that way and just walk but he didn't. Inclusive as possible and it's likely that consistent refrain in 2002. That there are liberal. Goals what time period and went wasn't conclusive as would want it he didn't look let me be very very clear air so this war. Again I've got. Great friend who. Former colleague work it to your foundational work that they do in the Austin community as ordinary admirable. And so this has been. A difficult issue for me but this is about the Red Sox at Fenway Park and our current tour. Nothing else it's. I just foundation. I'm gonna keep going because that is truly or. And I really wanted to make sure that message. Jets' current loud and clear that we are a respectful of the foundation. We're gonna move forward together. With other tradition in this city. Along that this turned unit the mayor's office is picture perfect order of an absolute right to condition and frank. Everyone who was heard on this issue out this is an old forward looking back and it won't let us in the. OK but I'd I've got to follow that helps him because basically in hearing what you just said and I've already set an upset at the countless times in this radio station. It's a real big emotional issue to me because I've heard a lot of the stories about Tom yucky I was they are around some of that period back in the Indy in the early seventies. The problem I have with what you're just saying right now is it sounds to me like you're bottling under pressure. From employees. Your buckling under pressure from people in the community. And yet you can't prove. That some of these things exist and the yucky found that foundation. Are are coming back at you with evidence that none of this stuff is true I'm not sure I believe in San but it does sound to me. Like instead of coming up with concrete evidence that the previous owner had issues. You're telling us that because the pressure you're getting from employees and the community is the reason that you make and a change. The reason that we're pleased petition to make changes as we believe that organization that's the right. Do and move forward awkward for the city we go to history. At least part we did your long term it in baseball are now. We discuss our. Machine full pass with respect to race relation to publicly for a long time but the facts the facts that no one heard. You believe it and you believe right believes. Believe what we're here to debate and just say this coach actually we're here to talk about a half. Forward and create a welcome the inclusive are gonna totally different and if you're never gonna are. She enables Wall Street since its security that we're on as an organization. And look we made strides. She openly regret over the best that we. Have a long way to go is this effort but we wanna be hard a positive. Achieved for the city. As we move forward we're grateful some people that are forward as we also understand that others will be on the other side of their. Debate and discussion and forwarded posited a lack. Its image but the thing is the issue though is is in in doing that with you saying to show move forward inclusive Fenway Park Boston Red Sox organization in doing that. You have sort of taken down a reputation of a man and I think the casual fall of the story was that they're sick of but the Red Sox changes names of the men must be racist. Again Lou well look we're focused on the Red Sox and we're establishing an empire is here for our fan. Are pleased that our players. That concludes he welcomed me you know that's what that's what this is the outlook was. John Henry or Werner all of the deal worked out only cheated 2002. And that hasn't changed and we're looking forward. Sam what what was it what was the discussion like with you know everyone associated with yawkey foundation. Was it difficult conversation to have based on. Everything that that foundation has done. And I don't appreciate the effort but oh by the way now would set the make a slight change. Yeah. Those conversations. Other produce days they're very cordial and all and again we appreciate the great work that they. Do in this community and that nobody. Knew at all. Sammy gonna paint over the yucky Morse code out on the wall. Right now there's no planter. To do anything with respect. Element. Of the Iraqi stewardship of the franchise he sighed and got way we're not look in series history will look to do is make sure that. Or or to the ball park it is well could be inviting. As possible so what Likud. But if you have employees as you said who are uncomfortable about the name being out there. Why wouldn't they now that you've already changed the name from yawkey way to church and why wouldn't they come forward and put pressure on you guys to paid over the yawkey Morse code. Well we've we've had a lot of discussions about. The variety of the old. And particularly in. This how hard group that studied at hand and the issue. Well instead there is a oh importance placed on your front door and sin and area of the ball well majority educated. Employees. Are conferences to visit and where are where there. Number or source passionately and then. People come through there without that there's there's all sorts of different store or older inside Fenway. That include. You know lots of alumni and ownership and former it is and so we we decided. For now that our our our plan was to sit when ancient and then we'll move forward from there. There's also placard Thomas yawkey plaque. On Fenway Park you know there's an old about out anyway. What about that is gonna stay also. That would be they'll be removed from the front door along with or street sign. And you'll you know followed city's police in terms that are currently blocked the cheaters are specifically. To the street. It's sad to think together they should made it out have as is you know as you pointed out yucky foundational to good they've done this city and should they gonna continue to do good I think their job just a little bit harder. In that you know how it works you know and they'll be people out there now that will go to MGH and say you have a Tom yawkey building the Boston Red Sox felt the enough. To take this man's name off the street what are you doing in here comes the pressure. And we gonna see this throughout the city I think that is something and it concerned me at night and end yawkey foundation or any deal. You know I don't think that'll happen Lou I think that this is there are Red Sox issued. Burdened. The Red Sox. A long long time in terms of our history it's okay this went on here. And we've tried and clinical chic street you know the not a big race to a building another institution. This is a Red Sox certainly part. Matter the issue and we the led by John Henry's own work. Are arguing well we see who's in the best interest franchise. Moving forward. And I created. As we all. So I know what you're trying to do when you're trying to move on and you've got to do that in your position which you constantly bring up the past history and and I think that's what we're trying to refer to here. By saying that the past history than the Red Sox are validating. Those stories about Tom yawkey in the past. And I heard them as I said crawling up as I'm sure Hubert them and I heard them from a lot of people who are no longer with us so we can't go back to them and say are they true. But but it's almost like you you you guys are trying to walk the line here. You wanna wash yourself free of the previous ownership. Yet you don't wanna admit that they history. Exists there that's where I'm a little bit you. I disagree with your card we absolutely acknowledge the history. The apps were fortunate and not trump. The franchise. Is proud of they were Liz try. Say is that we were trying to very clear distinction we act passed. We were afraid that happened that were unfortunate. And ahead of we are great work that is being done today by foundation. That is making your best unity. An end and that's a very important distinction you know obviously art movement forward and moving away from the legacy of sort of and let the Red Sox with respect to reach relation. On on the field and off the field we art movie in different directions moving forward. All we are also drew a distinction between. Yucky. As long as it related to those issues in the Red Sox. And what is happening day and our city while with a very generous and Evelyn foundation. So the man was basically a racist but when he died and he left all of this money the money has been put to good source. And it's helped an awful lot of people that it I don't know any other way to put it Iraq. Well you can put it however you want credit I know I'll I'll I'll I think about it on the Red Sox they about it you know move forward on the way. Creating. Environment where everyone is welcome. I would just about the team. Pretty good start. Yes it did start out. It's been really fun to watch Al scorers didn't the group of young players sort of mixed in with a great group of veteran catcher common there who. We consider it a little that accolade for out all the contract now and are excited to keep all the partners. I ratings continue to be good this last time we talked you were talking about the TV ratings. Ratings good what about attendance. For ratings are all alone we're up about 40% over the last year dropped dramatically and she. On creditors a lot of interest in the cheap. Over. 3030000. People at first technician working we're not sell outs but if you think the average per. Seeing temperature. Is sixty degree or I. The calm out is what I you know conditions. Yeah I think you'd you be happy about Dex he says a pass at the story of the day top promotes warm weather teams don't teams they're actually tennis is down is up. We're both teams that the cubs are actually down because if it goes a 4500 on average given the weather. I don't see that being that bad to be honest with you because it's been all. It's frankly it's remarkable. Loose the support we he had said if I think it should we get it today that you are political coup. Who will start to see they gave out usage is 3536000. Range. That's supported huge competitive advantage so we we we really appreciate it. I say it all local or global did you was a team like you know Cincinnati Tampa even Toronto game last night with nobody there. I mean other than you know you know you know the bullpen cart. People want what do you do if you're one of these teams are that is being accused of taking it what do you do in trying to draw fans to gain. It's hard you'd think baseball is addressing it by trying to recover the so issue ultimately she's the product terms in the and an element like. You know if you don't have a competitive compelling product. Our order Tikrit taking 21993. Or. And insurance while the ticket sales look at. Spartan take you out. Garden needed the political leaders could fractured marketing department out here. We reckon. It's all about winning. And their ilk. It's her it's difficult when you don't have a competitive cheap earlier in the year. Circled around potentially good weather. Well we're blessed and fortunate. Few and hope it continues as we move forward. I say good talking to you talked to Donna rook thanks. Guys Spanish and stimulants and Kennedy president CEO. Of the Boston roots.