Thursday, August 17, 2017

BC needs to get in front of the Yawkey controversy

The Red Sox are requesting the city of Boston change the street outside Fenway from "Yawkey Way" due to the owner's racist past. I don't care how you feel about the move. I don't care about Tom Yawkey or current owner Sox owner John Henry. You can question the timing of Henry's request, but who cares if it is sincere, grandstanding or just out of fear. My concern in all of this is BC. We have a prominent Football building carrying the Yawkey name, and it is inevitably listed in articles mentioning the Sox's move. Before the spotlight comes, before any real controversy starts, BC just needs to get in front of it all and change the name. Right now. Have the change go up before the season even starts. 

Tom Yawkey had no affiliation to BC. The only reason the building carries his last name is because the trustee of the Yawkey Foundation and former Red Sox President John Harrington had deep ties to the school. Before joining the Sox he taught accounting at BC. It was Harrington who pushed for the gift and Harrington who guided the naming. At the time, the Yawkey name carried much less controversy so it was a no brainer for BC to use it. If anything, there was the belief that associating with the Red Sox would help the program. There is no sense carrying the name if it is going to hurt the program in the slightest. 

With respect to Harrington, there are a few workarounds that might help in the renaming. BC could call it the Jean Yawkey Center. Tom's widow was a very prominent philanthropist around Boston, and owned the Red Sox and contributed to Major League Baseball without controversy for decades after his death. Adding "Jean" distances it from Tom. I imagine several of the other local non-profits carrying Yawkey names or buildings will do the same.

BC could also rename it after Harrington. He was the guiding force for the gift. He was the BC guy. It wasn't his money, but why not give him some credit? I can't think of anything controversial about Harrington that would upset anyone.

BC could always rename it after another donor. Take the Yawkey name off now and shop around the naming opportunity to our biggest boosters. That might seem a little greedy and opportunistic, but we wouldn't be the first large non-profit to replace a name based on a bigger gift.

While I understand the sensitivity to the Yawkey Foundation, there are BC alums all over their board. I am sure they will understand BC's predicament. There are many courses of action. BC can be thoughtful in their plan and response. However, they can't drag their feet on Step 1. Drop the name now and figure the rest out later.

Let me restate, I don't care about this becoming a debate. I don't care how people feel about sensitivity or the president or social justice. There are many areas where I do care about BC's stand on things, but there is no reason to ever get into the fray or become a flashpoint over someone who was dead 30 years before some of his foundation's money headed over to BC.


Ry said...


That is all

ATL_eagle said...


Not a bad idea. My cynical guess is that if the name is changed, it will be with guidance from the Yawkey Foundation. It seems like the Foundation is fighting the Red Sox move, so the Jean Yawkey or Harrington name might be a good compromise.

Lenny Sienko said...

If you donate enough money to "name" a building on the campus, isn't there a written agreement signed? Wouldn't BC be bound by its terms, whatever they may be?

Napolean Bonaparte said...

Appreciate Henry's concern - but the number of local African Americans attending Red Sox games is virtually nil. The crowds are almost exclusively white (with many being affluent guests of local corporations and firms owning the seats). The Red Sox have the most expensive seats in all of baseball (and God forbid you couple that with a few dogs and some drinks). Maybe Henry could put his money where his mouth is and lower ticket prices so working class African Americans and others could afford to take their kids again to a game at Fenway Park.

I'd simply rename the BC building after the Foundation or Jean and move on. The Foundation was extraordinarily generous to BC. My guess is that if you heavily investigated every name on a building at BC - you'd find a reason to rename another building or two. Maybe we should undo the affiliation with the Jesuits as a result of their involvement in some of the Church's sex scandals? Where does it end? Maybe we should rename each building after a Triple Crown Winner - that has to be safe.

ATL_eagle said...

Georgetown took down many Jesuit names who had owned and sold slaves.

AMDG said...

I would be saddened if BC gave into the fascists. Giving in is just feeding the beast - they will come back for more.

OT - but BC should name the Soccer/Lax field after a Wells Crowther and the Baseball stadium after Pete Frates.

modest34b said...

100 to 200 years ago , Boston was a hot bed of anti-irish and anti-catholic prejudice, The Irish were the object of relentless prejudice and scorn. Notre Dame's "fighting' Irish" nickname is in part to honor the Irish who suffered in Boston and as symbol to oppose racism and prejudice (little bit of stolen valor by ND, by the way) . BC itself was opened, in part, to counter nasty anti-irish prejudice from Harvard. BC is in many way a school built to overcome and fight racist (type) prejudice

Should we go back a 100+ years and find the Boston Brahmin that lead the anti-irish attacks... Cabots, Holmes, etc.

Should be rip their names out of the pages of history and deface any building or statute associated with their names.

NO. lot of hysteria sweeping our land . chill. chill on Yawkey

and john Henry is so full of it. here is what his lackey said

“It’s a continuation of John’s strong feelings about tolerance and inclusion and making sure that everyone in Boston and New England feels welcome at Fenway Park,” Red Sox president Sam Kennedy told The Associated Press. “This is just the beginning of a process that will involve the community.”

As the prior commenter N. B. aptly pointed out Fenway is awful on diversity. It is easily the MOST segregated Sports venue in America. I've never been to any other sports venue like Fenway where you do not see more than 2 or 3 black faces in the stands....even if you're looking. John Henry is just so full of baloney. Since 2002, He could have increased black and minority attendance at Fenway easily with some simple community outreach. he chooses not to do so. Henry's pleas now are insincere posturing

Napolean Bonaparte said...

The other ridiculous aspect of this is that baseball is a minor industry and doesn't deserve to be such a focal point. African Americans (and others such as Native Americans and the Irish as per section D) were enormously discriminated against in huge numbers throughout the economy in private industry, government, education and the armed forces for many many years having an impact far greater than major league baseball. What about the names of every CEO, industrialist, administrator, hiring manager, politician, university president, etc. who was responsible for hiring discrimination over say the last 100 years? Should we erase any honorary use of their names as well? Tom Yawkey was a pimple in terms of economic impact and suffering compared to hundreds of others.

Guido said...

Section D - you are so correct in your comments !!!! Further, John Henry and his sycophants like Sam Kennedy are total ----- HYPOCRITES !!! This whole group are total frauds - why don't they designate a substantial number of field box seats to be sold at deeply DISCOUNTED PRICES at every game so that the minorities in Boston and elsewhere can experience the game as do the Corporate "Bigwigs" and their crony friends. I am so fed up with this Country and the "Dangerous Path" that the "PHONY LIBERALS" are advocating. Why doesn't Elizabeth Warren spend some of her $30 million "Campaign Fund reserves" to help facilitate minorities to experience the wonders of sitting in the box seats behind the dugouts ??? Oh no , they do not want the "Riff Raff" mingling with the "ELITE" !!!!! Get a life - John Henry along with all your fraud friends !!!!!!

TGS said...

Gotta love ATL. Bend to the will of PC leftists, ignore the fact that life saving organizations like the Jimmy Fund exist because of old man Yawkey's generosity, reneg on your word when you named the building after him, all to appease the Boston Globe and other lefty rags.
Yawkey was a very, very flawed human being who was a product of his times. You take the good with the bad, learn from history, and move on. This shit is out of control. What's next? Tear down the damn White House, after all it was built by slaves.

BCballer said...

Big Papi Drive? Why not name it in honor of the various steroids he used too reinvent a sagging career? Winstrol Way. Dianabol Drive.

Give me a break...

knucklehead said...

No, Boston College does not need to get in front of anything. It was founded by a minority group that was not accepted by the Boston WASP Brahmin community and developed itself into a world class university. It's most famous athlete spent 4 years being called the little big guy. His stature like peoples race was beyond his control but it was an issue for a lot of people. He dealt with it and became one of the most popular Heisman Trophy winners of all time. To this day he is used in popular TV ads, shows and broadcasts.

So there are forms of bigotry, harassment and ridicule that folks of all colors and backgrounds deal with every day, institutionally and symbolically.

The University should consider itself a minority group, it should hold itself in that regard and not feel obligated or shamed into saying anything. Most universities in America have accepted donations and had dedications made to racist benefactors. The money and edifice at Boston College has been used to support the health and administration of the athletic department which includes hundreds of minorities including blacks. There is no shame and no statement required by Boston College.

The owner of the red sox is an opportunist - that is how he made his money in the commodities markets. He is using the opportunity provided by Trump, White Supremacists and Anti-Facists to expand his fanbase. Notice he does not want to rename the Yawkey Foundation(a money making enterprise) he only want to change the name of the street outside of his stadium which he could have done at anytime over the past 13 years as the owner of team. Marty Walsh would have unscrewed the sign for him if he asked him to.

It is awful to have sports tainted by politics. Everyone thinks they are fucking holier than thou.

One more point. KKK stands for Koons, Kikes and Catholics(idiots used a K for Catholics). They aren't just against black people.

ATL_eagle said...

I don't see it as bending to the will of the leftists. I see it as avoiding a fight where we have no skin in the game. Tom Yawkey didn't go to BC. Tom Yawkey didn't give the building to BC. His wife's accountant did. If you want to honor a legacy add Jean to the name or change it to Harrington. You've got to pick your battles. This one is not BC's to fight.

NEDofSavinHill said...

Guido is correct. Where is Pocahontas when you need here. Occupy Wall St.? Henry is a Wall St. shyster from Florida who purchased the team. His ball park is the most segregated stadium in America.He is also owner of the money losing Boston Globe. He and others engaged in a conspiracy to deprive the Probation officials in Massachusetts of their Constitutional Rights to Liberty. They fabricated false charges that hiring politically connected people was a crime. 80% of government workers got their positions through political connections. If that is a crime the President, Governor and Mayor commit a crime every time they hire someone. Fortunately the Court of Appeals threw out the case for lacking any merit. 2. The top Probation official framed by Henry's votaries was a BC athlete Jack O'Brien. He was put through a several year ordeal of false charges comparable to what the Duke lacrosse players faced. The Yawkey Foundation which has done hundreds of millions of dollars of charity in the Boston area should not tolerate this smear. They should bankroll a Federal law suit for O'Brien seeking $3 billion in damages against Henry whose paper advocated a lengthy prison sentence for these bogus charges. O'Brien owning the Red Sox would be just compensation for the suffering inflicted on him and his family.

knucklehead said...

John Harrington deserves a little more respect than being brushed off as an accountant. He ran the business side of the red Sox for 30 years. More than you will ever do professionally Atl.

Why do BC need to get in front of something if the money is from the wife and accountant.

Typical chatter without thinking.

John said...

Thomas Yawkey Austin, later adopted and his name changed to Thomas Austin Yawkey was thought to be a racist because the Red Sox ball club was the very last team to integrate. Maybe there we're other reasons as well.

He was a fool in that regard, IMHO, and it took a long time for the team to catch up.

But he wasn't an elected official or military man who took up arms against his own country.

I think John Henry has made a mistake here.

As for BC, quietly support extending the name to Jean Yawkey Foundation Athletic Center or simply say nothing and do nothing - as nothing is required.

Big Jack Krack (BJK).

ATL_eagle said...


My two suggestions were to rename the building after either Harrington or Jean Yawkey. My point is that before this comes to BC's door, the school should clarify where the money came from.

knucklehead said...

He had some connections to other egregious improprieties that have not been discussed in the media or here.

It should not be renamed. If it were the Tom Yawkey center there is an argument. It isn't. So it shouldn't.

You want to remove the statue to St. Ignatius because of the crusades? It is the same thing.

This is all bullshit in regards to BC.

If Jarmond comes out and makes a statement on this at all I am done.

JBQ said...

There are some very thoughtful suggestions here. I visited the Yawkey Center in 2012 and 2015. It is a very fine building with the Flutie Statue out front. There are a number of suggestions in favor of Jean Yawkey. That would be wise and she was a fine woman who took a big interest in BC.---@Napoleon: Political correctness has reached the point that Triple Crown winners may not even be safe. There are some nasty rumors out there about the living style of Secretariat. He had trouble fathering foals.---BC has a measure of greatness based on its "lighthouse mentality" on the Heights. The Irish were ostracized in Boston and BC changed that image with education and success. The radical left which wants to destroy religion and culture did not like that. The integration of Boston and the compromising of Irish neighborhoods was only one phase in that destruction.---BC has got to get back to that lighthouse mentality. The radical right is not the enemy. The enemy is culture and religion. This is all about the Bolsheviks who have taken over the Democratic Party. As of now, right wing Republicans are the only wall blocking Les Miserables.---The French school has surrendered to the radical left. BC has the opportunity to show moral leadership in troubling times. Even without an engineering school, BC is consistently ranked in the top 30 schools in the entire nation. The troubles of the football and basketball programs are only minor foibles in the context of things.---Yesterday, here in Missouri, a state senator called for the assassination of the president. You reform through education and moral leadership. BC is one of the universities which does things right. However to look on the pathetic leadership state in their basketball and football programs sends a rotten message of disorganization within the university itself.---BC needs to get back to doing what it does best. That would be moral leadership. Father Leahy with ties to St. Louis needs to get out of his ivory tower and back on the playing field of life.

Grant Salzano said...

"You want to remove the statue to St. Ignatius because of the Crusades? It is the same thing."

WTF does St. Ignatius have to do with the Crusades?

Napolean Bonaparte said...

Nice to see these comments - maybe the country isn't as fucking brain dead as I thought.

knucklehead said...


working rich said...

Tear the building down!
Remove all evidence of racism !

Or you will be tarred by the fascists who like to make believe they are Anti fascists

Just tear it down, level the buiilding !

Unknown said...

Obvious choice for Name Jean Yawkey.

Happily "FOR BOSTON" Jesuits are the liberals of the Catholic Church !!!!!!!!!!!

EagleonHeights said...

Isn't ironic that John Henry provided the Yawkey Foundation with significant funding when he purchased the Red Sox. The Yawkey Foundation is separate and distinct from Tom Yawkey, the man. The Yawkey Foundation has made many, many contributions to charitable causes in the community. Should we tear down the Yawkey Center at Mass General Hospital or rename it? (of course not). To suggest that Boston College rename the Yawkey Center is patently abusurd and takes "political correctness" to a totally unacceptable level. I'm surprised that a BC grad is so stupid not to understand the difference between the wonderful works of the Yawkey foundation and the team owner who the last in baseball to intergrate his team. BC should be honored that the Yawkey Foundation gave them a generous gift to fund the football facility.

EagleonHeights said...

Isn't ironic that John Henry provided the Yawkey Foundation with significant funding when he purchased the Red Sox. The Yawkey Foundation is separate and distinct from Tom Yawkey, the man. The Yawkey Foundation has made many, many contributions to charitable causes in the community. Should we tear down the Yawkey Center at Mass General Hospital or rename it? (of course not). To suggest that Boston College rename the Yawkey Center is patently abusurd and takes "political correctness" to a totally unacceptable level. I'm surprised that a BC grad is so stupid not to understand the difference between the wonderful works of the Yawkey foundation and the team owner who was the last in baseball to intergrate his team. BC should be honored that the Yawkey Foundation gave them a generous gift to fund the football facility.

CT said...

Ditto 12:20 comment. Fucking ditto.

Holy Napoleon Knucklehead...has this thread made my day.

You mean, there's hope? I mean, I know I'm in the South and all, but this week has been disheartening. No one has context in their lives anymore. Everyone just lives their lives as if they are on social media. There is no thought, no contemplative discussion, just reaction. This is indeed the Twitterverse.

My favorite Game of Thrones speech to date reminds me of the need to refuse an inch.

"Don’t fight in the North or the South. Fight every battle everywhere, always in your mind. Everyone is your enemy, everyone is your friend. Every possible series of events is happening all at once. Live that way and nothing will surprise you. Everything that happens will be something that you’ve seen before."

These people (the media) are fucking off-the-cliff deranged. Literally demented.

ccw said...

Hey idiot Ned on Savin Hill

Jack O'Brien was a quintissential Boston irish scum bag influence peddler. Holding his sorry ass up as a hero is a joke. He's a disgrace to BC. His conviction being overturned was an absolute travesty.

ccw said...

CT quoting Peter Baelish from GOT screams loser to me.

Guido said...

I can not believe the comments that are rendered as a byproduct of the Yawkey Way
discussion. On 98.5 this afternoon , a young man FROM CAMBRIDGE (a friend of LIZZIE , NO DOUBT) ranted about racist Boston and actually stated that the scarcity of black attendance at Sox games is due to the fear of entering FENWAY PARK with its' hostile environment. What a ----- arsehole !!! Did he ever think that the prices of seats is the real culprit !!!!!(highest average in the majors) I am so tired of the Boston is a racist city horseshit !!! Sorry for my language , but enough is enough !!! There is racism everywhere in this Country and that factor will never change. My grandparents were told that their presence in a certain section of a South Shore town was not acceptable and "Look elsewhere" .The terrible dangerous situation now is being fueled by the Warrens, Markeys et al and I am terrified at the possible consequences. These elected Officials should be using language to stem this violence and not be fanning the flames with their ignorant LEFT WING CHANTS.

FakeShalomTfree said...

The Matty Ice center has a nice ring to it

CT said...

Ok ccw. Scream.

CT said...

I grew up in the South and lived in a bunch of places overseas and Boston is the most racist city I've known. Sorry guys.

Bravesbill said...

Might as well name the building after Antifa while you're at it. Better tear down the Washington Monument and Jefferson Memorial too.

NEDofSavinHill said...

ccw. What is your ethnic background? How many Irish names are on the WW2 Memorial in South Boston? Over 200. How many Irish fought for this country in all their wars? Over one million. O'Brien played football at BC. He was framed by Henry and his minions 2. Who founded BC? Boston Irish Catholics. ccw your ignorance is pronounced.

ccw said...

Does that change the fact that this city has long been a cesspool of graft and patronage with much of it coming from small minded chauvinists like you.

Who gives a sh*t that he played football at BC? Does that mean he can turn the probation department into his personal fiefdom handing out do-nothing jobs paid for by taxpayers? Or is it OK b/c he's Irish?

Maybe you were on the dole from O'Brien and his lackies and that's why you're so pissed off. Tell me was O'Brien really progressive in handing out patronage to people of all races and ethnicities. Let me guess, to you he's progressive b/c he gave a BS job to an Italian. That must prove his moral compass.

What difference does my ethnic background make? If I were Irish Catholic you'd call me a traitor. If I were black you'd call me something else. You, O'Brien and your ilk are all disgraces to what BC has always been about - which is something above what your small mind can comprehend.

Napolean Bonaparte said...

A number of fair points and suggestions have been raised here. Nonetheless, if BC thinks the honorable thing to do is to remove all vestiges of the Yawkey name - so be it. But if they do so without returning the money to the Foundation (which in large measure is based on the lifetime earnings of an alleged racist) - then the school has no honor. The school can always mount a fund drive among progressives and others who support removing the name to wholly replace the funds used for the building or use endowment funds. I think anything short of that is hypocrisy.

luch said...

pretty disheartening to read all this crap in these comments. for a school that prides itself on fostering men and women for others, there is a serious lack of empathy. it would be great for people to ponder the implications, both sides, and then come to some sort of conclusion. everyone is entitled to their opinion.

but then again, very easy for a bunch of white males to comment on how everyone else should feel. i'm not taking a stance on this right now, I don't know anything about the Yawkeys, i'm sure there are legal ramifications, but maybe a moment to wonder how other people might be made to feel would be refreshing instead of the usual "get off my lawn and lets make america great again and take our country back" BS .

working rich said...

it is a small step from changing the name to not honor racism, it is not much farther to say rip the whole thing down.
That is why the entire idea is hypocritical.

Tear it all down and build a housing project for descendants of slaves.
Right in the middle of Chestnut Hill.
I can imagine how the snotty, pseudo liberal, NIMBY neighbors would react.

Our beloved neighbors would howl and i would love to see it.

CT said...

Lol 6:45

Napolean Bonaparte said...

luch - that's fine - you are entitled to your opinion. But if the school agrees with your point then they should change the name and return the money. If you feel the name is tainted by evil - so is the money. You cannot have your cake and eat it too on matters of principle and expect to have any credibility.

modest34b said...

never give back the money