The Bruins, Celtics, Patriots, Red Sox, and Revolution today launched a new initiative focused on eradicating racism and hate speech from their venues, and encouraging fans to do the same in their own homes, businesses, and communities. The program, entitled "Take The Lead," debuted at a Fenway Park event featuring panel discussions about race with alumni and executives from each team, and also marked the debut of a PSA with current players that will run at Fenway Park, Gillette Stadium, and the TD Garden.
The event, emceed by Reverend Liz Walker of the Roxbury Presbyterian Church, also included remarks from City of Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, State Senator Linda Dorcena Forry, and NAACP Boston Chapter President Tanisha Sullivan. The panel discussions were moderated by WBZ-TV Sports Director Steve Burton, and featured insights on the issue of race in sports from former Boston Bruin Forward and Executive Director of the Boston Bruins Foundation Bob Sweeney; former Boston Celtics Forward and NBA Broadcaster Cedric Maxwell; National Football League Hall of Fame Linebacker Andre Tippett; and Boston Red Sox Hall of Famer and Player Development Consultant Tommy Harper.
Joining the alumni to offer a front office perspective were Boston Bruins CEO Charlie Jacobs; Celtics Senior Director of Community Engagement David Hoffman; President of the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation Josh Kraft; Red Sox President and CEO Sam Kennedy; and President of the New England Revolution Brian Bilello.
In addition to focusing on fan behavior in the venues of the five New England professional sports teams, "Take The Lead" is a collaboration that will offer a fellowship opportunity, allowing an individual to gain work experience at each team. The initiative will also include a career fair to communicate the various employment opportunities across the Boston sports landscape.
The "Take The Lead" PSA will first be shown to fans during tonight's 7:10 P.M. Red Sox- Astros game, and features current players denouncing racism, hate, and discrimination. Players who participated in the PSA are Patrice Bergeron and Tuukka Rask from the Bruins; Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, and Jayson Tatum from the Celtics; Duron Harmon, Devin McCourty, and Matthew Slater from the Patriots; Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Dustin Pedroia from the Red Sox; Kei Kamara and Kelyn Rowe from the Revolution.