In the history of athlete bobbleheads, manufacturers have churned out some pretty garbage results. You don’t have to look further than Jayson Werth’s overly eager figurine, John Wall’s super sleepy one, or Giancarlo Stanton’s Cheeto-dusted representation to see the proof. Social media users endlessly clown these bobbleheads, but they don’t find them insulting. On Tuesday night, the Red Sox planned to give away 15,000 David Ortiz bobbleheads that definitely would have set off a wave of backlash. Five hours before the game, the team’s president canceled the giveaway because Ortiz’s figurine was racially insensitive.
Emulating the 2013 speech he made at Fenway Park five days after the Boston Marathon bombings, the bobblehead features Ortiz holding a microphone. And by choosing the wrong tint for his lips, it also makes the Dominican player look as though he’s in blackface. The manufacturers also exaggerated some of his features.
“It was an inaccurate portrayal of David,” Red Sox president Sam Kennedy said, according to the Boston Globe. “It doesn’t really look like David. No. 2, I personally thought it seemed to be an offensive portrayal of him and the facial features were racially insensitive. If I was feeling this way, certainly other people would. So we pulled the plug.”
Thankfully Kennedy had the foresight to keep the Ortiz bobbleheads from getting out into the public, because people have most definitely noticed how problematic it is. Ortiz also weighed in. “That’s supposed to be me?” he said after looking at it. The Boston Globe added that in “unprintable language,” he agreed with the team’s decision to pull the bobblehead.
I imagine that the interaction actually went down like this: “Loco, y queseto? Y esa maldita vaina tan fea se supone que sea yo? No no no, suelta eso, no saquen esa mierda asi, arreglenme esa vaina!”
Unfortunately, we’ll never know. Either way, Kennedy promised that all who attended Tuesday’s game would get a bobblehead in the mail.