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Volume 24 No. 217
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Major New England Sports Franchises Join Forces To Denounce Racism, Hate Speech

New England's five major sports teams -- the Patriots, Celtics, Red Sox, Bruins and Revolution -- later this month will join forces for a PSA "featuring athletes calling on fans to take a stand against racism and hate speech at sports venues," according to a front-page piece by Adrian Walker of the BOSTON GLOBE. Each team has "agreed to prominently play the video in their venues." Dubbed “Take the Lead,” the project is an "effort to use the influence of the area’s sports teams ... to lead a discussion on an issue that Boston has struggled to confront head-on." After an incident involving Orioles CF Adam Jones at Fenway Park in May, Red Sox President & CEO Sam Kennedy began meeting with state Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry and Boston NAACP President Tanisha Sullivan for "guidance on addressing racist behavior in the ballpark." The three "quickly agreed that the area’s other sports teams should be brought into the discussion." The group also met with Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh to "discuss their plans." Sullivan: “We thought it would be incredibly powerful for this initiative to include not just the Red Sox but all of our professional sports teams. Because this was not just an issue involving the Red Sox and Fenway Park.” Walker notes the video will be "shown regularly at all the teams’ venues," and the program will include "other initiatives." The activists advising the teams have also "called on them to examine their internal efforts at diversity, beginning with their senior management and front office staffs, to which they say the franchises have been receptive." The teams will "unveil the beginning of their project" at a Fenway Park event on Sept. 28 (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/19).