Boston's professional sports teams are collaborating on a new campaign against racism

The public service announcement features some of the hottest players on the Red Sox, Patriots, Bruins, Celtics and Revolution. The Sox pulled the teams together to create the campaign, which was launched Thursday at Fenway Park. It follows two racist incidents in the Fenway stands earlier this season, including ugly taunts directed at Baltimore outfielder Adam Jones.

“If you hear something really offensive or hateful speak up, say something," the athletes say in the PSA. "Stand for teams. But don't stand for racism. We can change the game.”

The Sox apologized to Jones after the incident in May, but team president Sam Kennedy said the team felt they needed to do something more.

“Racism is not a Boston thing," Kennedy said. "Unfortunately it's everywhere. And it's important to acknowledge that and try and elevate, sustain that conversation. A lot of times when these incidents happen people do run away from them and don't want to address them. We felt it was important from John Henry and Tom Warner all the way down to address this incident with Adam and then address the incident that happened the next night.”

While the Sox responded quickly to the Jones incident, critics have pointed to the lack of diversity in the Sox front office, something Kennedy acknowledged. “We could always do better," he said. "I think every corporation, every for-profit business [and] not-for-profit business can do better.”

In addition to the PSA, the collaboration will include fellowship opportunities and a career fair. Kennedy said the team is realistic that they’re not going to change the world with one step in the right direction. “But hopefully," he said, "we can play our small part in the sports community.”

“If a Yankees fan gets up at Fenway Park and talks trash, he's going to hear about it from the whole section,"  Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said at Thursday's launch event. "If a person says something racist in any public or private space that reaction should be 100 times stronger.”

The guests included a number of all-star alumni from each of the teams, including Red Sox great and Player Development Consultant Tommy Harper, whose relationship with the Sox is a complicated one. Harper won a federal discrimination suit against the team in 1986. But he suggested the current ownership is more racially sensitive — as illustrated by this new campaign.

“Things have gotten better," Harper said. "No sports venue can be responsible for the attitude of every fan who pays his way or her way into the ballpark. Can not do it. But your response to it is what's important. The response when I played was nothing. Nothing ever happened.”

The initiative comes at a time of a national debate over NFL players — including some New England Patriots — kneeling during the national anthem in what they call a protest of police violence against black people. Harper said you can’t suppress free speech.

“I don't give up my rights to free speech just because I put a uniform on," he said. "Does a doctor? No. Why is it athletes?”

Patriots Hall of Fame Linebacker Andre Tippett also spoke in favor of the kneeling players, saying he was appalled by President Trump’s call to have them fired. Tippett said he was warned when he first came to Boston in 1982.

“Someone said to me, he said, ‘You know you got drafted by the Patriots,’ I said yes. He said, ‘Oh my God, you've got to be careful. This is a really racist community."

But Tippett said there’s been a real effort to change how the city is perceived.

“I think the city is strong enough that it is really working hard," he said. "And you think about the Red Sox taking the lead and then all the other organizations joining in. And then you got all the other community leaders being involved, says you know we're going to do something truly, truly do something about.”

Former Celtics forward and NBA broadcaster Cedric Maxwell said racism in this city isn’t something you can just ignore.

“As a player of color, when you talk about racism, I think a lot of people will say, ‘there you go again bringing the race card in.' But you have to realize that it is alive and well and the way they change it is in that way of having that conversation.”

It’s a conversation that the teams say they hope fans have when they see their favorite players coming out and calling on them to stand up to racism in the stands, or anywhere.