This Time, MLB Players Are Making Sure Baseball Isn’t Last To Act


    The Brewers and Reds are now leading the equality and social justice protest in MLB. (Photo by Dylan … [+] Buell/Getty Images)

    Much like when the league stopped play in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the NBA’s postponement of its three playoff games Wednesday has led to other sports following suit.

    This time, Major League Baseball is not the last to do so, and that is important.

    The Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds unanimously decided not to play their game Wednesday night at Miller Park in Milwaukee, about 40 miles from where police in Kenosha, Wisconsin shot 29-year-old Jacob Blake, a Black man, seven times in the back on Sunday.

    Then, on Tuesday night in Kenosha, a teenager shot three people, killing two, who were protesting the police killing. 

    This all led to the Bucks not taking the court Wednesday in Orlando, which was soon followed by all three scheduled NBA playoff games being postponed. Then by the Brewers and Reds agreeing to not take the field in similar protest in Milwaukee.

    The Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres later postponed their game, too. The Mariners have the most Black players in MLB. Shortly after that, the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers also postponed their game.

    This is a significant statement by two MLB teams, especially because the league dragged its feet in stopping spring training amid the pandemic, and then did the same in releasing a statement addressing the George Floyd killing – nine days after the incident. 

    Then, once the season started, the league’s efforts to support Black Lives Matter, racial equality and social justice seemed hollow and unauthentic. Meanwhile, players were left to lift baseball’s effort, as they did again Wednesday.

    Soon after the Brewers and Reds announced their postponement, other teams were considering doing the same, ESPN reported.

    Meanwhile, others across the league continued to speak out in support of what the NBA, Brewers and Reds were protesting.

    Since Blake’s shooting, the Brewers have spoken out in support of Black Lives Matter, equality and social justice. Before answering questions pregame on Tuesday, manager Craig Counsell, always among the most thoughtful players, coaches and managers in the game, told reporters he had something “important” he wanted to discuss. 

    “A Black man was shot, and his life is in peril, and frankly it shouldn’t be,” Counsell said. “We’ve got a systemic problem that we need to address, and we all need to educate ourselves. Whether you agree or disagree with what I’m saying, I think it’s important that we continue to think, we continue to pursue policy change, we continue to act, because there’s violence happening that just absolutely should not be happening. And we can’t stay quiet about it.”

    The night before Counsell’s statement, Brewers pitcher Devin Williams, who is Black, scratched “BLM” into the mound before striking out the Reds in order. 

    And with that, MLB’s players rose for the moment the way its league had failed to in May after Floyd’s death. And the trickledown in baseball was swift as other teams and players tried to make sense of what was happening in their league and if they should take the field.

    The players deserve credit here, because there was no chance MLB was going to be OK with this unless the players forced it, a source told Forbes. So, the Brewers and Reds forced the issue and refused to play.

    MLB is going to be hesitant to give universal approval for postponing games in these circumstances, so it will again be on the people in uniform to lead the way for a league that has cowered in the face of important decisions this year. 

    I cover Major League Baseball for SportsMoney and have written on the sport for more than a decade as a beat writer for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and as a national

    I cover Major League Baseball for SportsMoney and have written on the sport for more than a decade as a beat writer for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and as a national MLB columnist for Sporting News, Bleacher Report, The San Francisco Examiner and ESPN. I’ve penned the breaking of a curse, two no-hitters, a pair of three-homer World Series games, a vegetarian of a Prince, the best pitcher and player of a generation (both playing in Southern California) and many other unforgettable players and happenings. Based in California, I cover the league with a new-age perspective, examining how players, trends and events affect the game and its growth. Follow me on Twitter @awitrado.


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