On Thursday, Major League Baseball players across the league will continue to protest racial injustice following the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, by police. The Oakland Athletics and Texas Rangers were the first teams to announced they will not play Thursday’s game, and at least 12 additional teams followed.
The Athletics released the following statement:
Social injustice and systemic racism have been part of the fabric of our lives for far too long. We have a responsibility to use our platform, to lend our voices for those who are not being heard.
We need to continue having the uncomfortable conversations and work towards being a unified force for change.
These conversations will push the boundaries and enable us to come through on the other side with impactful results.
All too often we hear about the plight of our fellow man and fail to act. It is long past due that these communities are being heard, seen, understood and supported.
We will not take the field tonight to help raise awareness for these social issues, not just tonight, but for our collective future. This is the first step in our relentless pursuit for meaningful change.
“We respect the decision by the Oakland A’s players to postpone tonight’s game,” the Rangers said in a statement. “We stand with all those who condemn racial injustice and are committed to helping bring about an end to systemic racism.”
In addition to the Athletics vs. Rangers, at least six other MLB games will not be played Thursday:
“The Minnesota Twins remain committed to using our platforms to push for racial justice and equality,” the Twins wrote in a statement. “Therefore, we fully respect our players for their decision to not play tonight’s game versus the Detroit Tigers. The recent shooting of Jacob Blake, a mere three months after the killing of George Floyd, shows again that real change is necessary and far overdue in our country, and it is our responsibility to continue playing a role in efforts to affect meaningful reform. We stand in solidarity with the Black community and, as full partners with others in the Twin Cities and beyond, we are committed to creating the change we want to see in the world – where everyone is protected, safe and welcome. There is no place for racism, inequality or injustice in our society.”
Wednesday night three Major League Baseball games — Brewers vs. Reds, Dodgers vs. Giants, Mariners vs. Padres — were postponed as players joined their NBA brethren to protest racial injustice in America. Individual players like Jason Heyward and Matt Kemp sat out their games.
“I would tell them to go with their heart,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi told reporters, including Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer, when asked about Wednesday’s protests. “Feelings are feelings. They’re never right or wrong. They’re just feelings. You have to go with your heart and what your heart tells you. I would support them with whatever they did.”
“Full support of it,” Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. said when asked about the protests, according to MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith. “Obviously things are going to hit a lot closer location-wise. Obviously it hits a lot closer African-American-wise as well. So there’s feelings. There’s a lot of things that go on and a lot of things that you think about.”
Bradley apparently made the decision not to play in Thursday night’s game one way or the other, reports ESPN’s Marly Rivera. He has been the driving force behind the team’s possible protest.
“I am the only Black person on this team,” Bradley said, according to Smith. “So I kind of feel like it’s my responsibility to address it in certain situations just so people can see what I feel and the things that I think about. I can take it on.”
Bradley added the Red Sox did not have a team meeting to discussing sitting out Wednesday’s game because they were already out on the field and had begun warmups by time Brewers players had chosen to sit out their game. He did say he spoke to manager Ron Roenicke and catcher Kevin Plawecki about things before Wednesday’s game.
Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo told reporters, including the Associated Press, the team is “going to talk to the players” about the protests. “We’re going to discuss it and see where we go with this,” he added.
There were originally 15 games on Thursday’s schedule, including four doubleheaders. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports MLB and the MLBPA spoke Thursday morning to discuss the player protests.
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