Boston Red Sox fans expecting to receive a David Ortiz bobblehead prior to Tuesday’s game are going to walk away empty-handed. Just a few hours before game time, the team canceled the giveaway, calling the bobbleheads “unacceptable.”
— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) August 9, 2016
The bobblehead, which depicts Ortiz during his “Boston strong” speech following the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, was deemed “offensive” and “racially insensitive” according to Red Sox president Sam Kennedy.
Red Sox prez Sam Kennedy tells me he thought Ortiz bobblehead came out as “offensive” and “racially insensitive.” pic.twitter.com/cXKcoum5iU
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) August 9, 2016
Kennedy told Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe that the facial features on the bobblehead could be viewed as offensive.
“It was an inaccurate portrayal of David. It doesn’t really look like David. No. 2, I personally thought it seemed to be an offensive portrayal of him and that the facial features were racially insensitive,” Kennedy said.
“If I was feeling this way, certainly other people would. So we pulled the plug.”
While Kennedy doesn’t specifically say it, the issue with the Ortiz bobblehead is that the lips make Ortiz look like he’s in blackface.
As the initial team statement notes, fans who have tickets to Tuesday’s game will eventually be able to redeem a new Ortiz bobblehead at a later date.
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It’s not the first time a team has canceled a giveaway after finding the product to be unacceptable. The Washington Nationals nixed a Jayson Werth bobblehead last season after the finished product didn’t come out the way they wanted. The Nationals also offered a voucher to fans so they could pick up a new Werth bobblehead at a later date.
Given the quotes used by Kennedy, this situation goes beyond the bobblehead being poorly constructed. If the Red Sox felt the product was “racially insensitive,” they made the right call in canceling the promotion.
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