The Red Sox canceled a David Ortiz bobblehead giveaway five hours before their game against the Yankees on Tuesday night because the figurines were deemed inaccurate and racially offensive by the team’s president.
The bobblehead was of Ortiz holding a microphone, a tribute to the emotional speech he made at Fenway Park five days after the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013.
Red Sox president Sam Kennedy saw the bobblehead for the first time Tuesday and decided to cancel the promotion.
“It was an inaccurate portrayal of David. It doesn’t really look like David,” Kennedy said. “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.”
Kennedy said the 15,000 bobbleheads would be returned to the manufacturer and a new model made. All ticketed fans for Tuesday’s game will receive bobbleheads in the mail, not just the first 15,000.
“Everybody will receive one,” Kennedy said.
Before the game, Ortiz said he was unaware of the situation.
“That’s supposed to be me?” he said after looking at a photo of the bobblehead.
In unprintable language, Ortiz said he agreed with the team’s decision.
The bobblehead was made by BDA Inc., of Woodinville, Wash.
The Red Sox have used the company as a source of other such promotional items.
Two versions of the bobblehead were made. The Red Sox found both unacceptable.
The company said in a statement, “We value our decades-long relationship with the Red Sox organization and its decision to postpone Tuesday’s David Ortiz bobblehead giveaway. We’re currently working closely with the Red Sox to ensure the team and its fans receive a quality product.”
A spokesperson later clarified that BDA agreed with Kennedy’s decision not to give out the bobblehead.
As fans entered Fenway, they were handed cards with instructions to visit a website and register to receive a replacement bobblehead.
“I was disappointed not to get it, but I understand why,” said Jason Bolduc of Leominster. “I’m glad we’re going to get one later. It’s good they did that.”
Globe owner John Henry is the principal owner of the Red Sox.