On Wednesday, the Boston Red Sox debuted a new feature outside of Fenway Park: a huge, black and white billboard overlooking the Mass. Pike that reads "Black Lives Matter."
Team President and CEO Sam Kennedy said Thursday during a Zoom call with reporters that the sign is a reresentation of what the team wants to represent, and that the Red Sox are committed to advocating for progress and justice.
"It's important for us to be unambiguous about where we stand with respect to Black Lives Matter," Kennedy said. "It's really important we support the movement, we support the humanity, the sentiment. And it's what our organization stands for and we're proud to amplify that message."
It's the latest move the team has taken as the country continues to reckon with the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and other injustices against Black Americans.
The team has publicly expressed its support for change in other ways, including publicly addressing allegations of racist actions by fans at Fenway Park.
Kennedy said the team doesn't see the message as a political statement, but a human rights message. There's no timetable for how long the message will remain up, he said.
"We understand and respect that others may see it as a political statement, but we don't see it as a political statement or an endorsement of any political organization or political policies. We see it as a human rights message for justice and equality," he said. "And there's [an] incredibly powerful movement going on around the globe right now, and we're very supportive of the fight for social justice and equality for everybody."
He said that the message was important to both players and employees.
The Red Sox, who have reckoned for years with their reputation as the last team in baseball to integrate, unveiling the sign right as the team is set to begin play in the shortened 2020 season is probably no accident.
With so many eyes on the Red Sox and no other major pro teams playing in the area yet, it's the biggest stage in town.
"We're in a position where we have a platform, and we've chosen to amplify that message and we've chosen to commit to having the discussions internally and helping move forward," Kennedy said. "And also, I should say, Major League Baseball deserves a lot of credit for taking this on, as well. You'll see some pretty powerful ceremonies, I think, around the country tonight and tomorrow which will hopefully send a great message of unity and progress as we all go forward together."