Boston Red Sox designated hitter and fan favorite David Ortiz stirred up a number of emotions during his speech at the tail end of yesterday’s pre-game ceremonies. His words and passion riled up an already celebratory sellout crowd at Fenway Park, inciting cheers from the thousands in attendance and even more watching at home. He also drew the ire of some critics, those that feel there is no place for profane language in such a place where impressionable children could (and did) hear it.
Ortiz did nothing wrong and it would seem, according to a Tweet directly from FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, that the FCC would have to agree.
David Ortiz spoke from the heart at today’s Red Sox game. I stand with Big Papi and the people of Boston – Julius
— The FCC (@FCC) April 20, 2013
Considering the events that transpired over the past week in Boston – from the bombings at the Boston Marathon to a city-wide lockdown while a manhunt ensued over the course of the day Friday – there was a need for a significant pre-game ceremony before yesterday’s contest against the Kansas City Royals. The Sox wore altered home jerseys, reading “Boston” across the chest instead of the usual “Red Sox”. Members of local law enforcement, volunteers from the Boston Marathon, and others were on field and in attendance. A lengthy montage of images from the past week played across the scoreboard in center field and there was a moment of silence for those victims that were lost.
Ortiz was given a microphone towards the end of the ceremony, asked to address the crowd on behalf of the team and organization. His words echoed through the stadium and across the airwaves, as the ceremony was broadcast locally on NESN and nationally on both the MLB Network and ESPN.
All right. All right Boston. This jersey that we wear today, it doesn’t say Red Sox. It says Boston. We want to thank you Mayor Menino, Governor Patrick, the whole police department for the great job they did this past week. This is our [expletive] city and nobody is going to dictate our freedom. Stay strong.
He spoke from the heart after an emotional week. Some feared that in today’s occasionally overly cautious world he’d end up receiving a fine from the FCC in addition to the criticisms we’ve seen written publicly. A nominal fine wouldn’t have been significant had the FCC taken issue – and it’s likely that the team would have helped take care of it – but the organization who’ve long been criticized for being too over-the-top at times did the right thing by looking the other way. Ortiz was asked about the comments after the game, stating that he hadn’t planned anything and simply spoke what he felt. He apologized if he’d offended anyone but he shouldn’t have had to.
Ortiz (who added a pair of hits in his return to the lineup yesterday) and the Sox made a statement yesterday, supporting the city and their fans through one of the toughest weeks that Boston has ever gone through.