Red Sox Cancel ‘Racially Insensitive’ David Ortiz Bobblehead Givewaway
The Boston Red Sox cancelled a planned David Ortiz bobblehead promotion on Tuesday night in the wake of controversy surrounding the likeness of Ortiz that was used.
The bobblehead, featuring Ortiz during his infamous "This is our (expletive) city!" speech following the Boston Marathon bombings, was pulled and the Red Sox issued the following statement:
The Boston Red Sox have cancelled tonight’s David Ortiz bobblehead giveaway. The bobbleheads were unacceptable to the club and not appropriate for distribution. We will be issuing new David Ortiz bobbleheads to all ticketed fans at a later date. Information on how fans can secure their item will be posted on redsox.com shortly after tonight’s game. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience.
It was the final planned Big Papi-related giveaway as part of his final year before he retires.
The bobblehead apparently depicted Ortiz as having enlarged and discolored lips, as was frequently used to caricature African-Americans in the 1800s and early 1900s, and common in the "blackface" portrayal that has long been frowned upon for its racial insensitivity. "I thought the bobbleheads were an inaccurate portrayal of David," Red Sox team president Sam Kennedy told ESPN's Darren Rovell. "To go further, I thought the facial features were racially insensitive."
The Red Sox have a dubious history when it comes to race; they were the last team in the majors to integrate, signing "Pumpsie" Green on July 21, 1959--12 years after Jackie Robinson broke baseball's "color barrier," and three years after he retired. There have long been accusations that former owner Tom Yawkey was a racist, and that's why it took the team so long to sign a black player.