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Yawkey Foundation ‘disheartened’ by efforts to rename street

FILE - In this June 22, 2017 file photo, retired Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz, left, stands with team principal owner John Henry while honored with the renaming of a portion of Yawkey Way to David Ortiz Drive outside Fenway Park in Boston. Henry says he wants to take steps to rename all of Yawkey Way, a street that has been an enduring reminder of the franchise's complicated racial past. | Charles Krupa/Associated Press

BOSTON — A foundation set up by the former owners of the Boston Red Sox says it’s “disheartened” because its namesake has become embroiled in the national controversy over racially divisive monuments.

The Yawkey Foundation said Friday in a statement to the Associated Press that Jean and Tom Yawkey’s philanthropy was “colorblind” and their generosity benefitted thousands of disadvantaged children of all backgrounds.

John Henry, who purchased the baseball franchise from the Yawkey Trust in 2002, wants the city to rename Yawkey Way in front of Fenway Park because he’s “haunted” by the racist legacy of Tom Yawkey. Henry suggested the new name should honor David Ortiz.

Yawkey owned the team from 1933 until his death in 1976. The Red Sox were the last major-league team to field a black player in 1959. The street was named for him in 1977.