by Hannah Begay | There comes a time where some things happen that are just bigger than baseball; some of these moments are too important not to emphasize. In the past week alone, 11 games have been canceled as MLB players around the league stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement after a young black man, Jacob Blake, was shot by police. Time and time again we see another incident flash across the TV screen on the nightly news, but never have we seen such a response from the sports industry. After the killing of George Floyd, we began to see the NBA and WNBA take a strong stance supporting the BLM movement. Many wear the name of Breona Taylor, a young black woman killed by police in her own home while others simply just wear “No More” on the back of their jerseys.
The MLB has never been one to actively take a stance on any movement of this kind. There is usually just a statement released by the board members saying they don’t condone such acts of violence and other fillers to satisfy its viewers. This year, the tables have turned. Players have taken their own stances regardless of what the league does. When the Mets played the Marlins, each took the field and then walked off to protest the game. However, they failed to come back out an hour later due holding just a mere press conference after the protest. None of the players wanted to play that night but the Commissioner forced them to do so.
“That leadership level, he doesn’t get it,” said Mets General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen. “He just doesn’t get it.”
It was later found out that the hour-long protest was instilled by owner Jeff Wilpon and not Manfred.
With so much controversy in so few games, it is quite possible the playoffs are affected. Let’s breakdown what could happen.
What if there is another that incident occurs?
Answer: If there was another incident of an unarmed black man or woman being shot by police, there would undoubtedly be an outcry for change once again. In terms of the MLB, more games could be protested and rescheduled for another day. I also do see the possibility of a short-lived boycott of the playoffs. Players want to take a social stance on what they believe as they are some of the world’s most powerful voices. However, each one of them works their entire lives for a chance to win it all. I don’t see a cancellation of the remainder of the season occurring due to civil unrest.
What if MLB fails at their initial statement of “United For Change” and “Black Lives Matter” seen on player jerseys?
Answer: Quite simply they’re in trouble. If the MLB fails to uphold their promise to be more inclusive and donate to social causes among other key points laid out in their diversity statement, they are going to regret it. In this day and age, you can no longer “get away” with not holding up your end of the bargain. Change is occurring and companies can fail due to lack of listening to what the people want. The MLB is one of the world’s greatest voices both in and out of the sports industry. When MLB players, coaches and hall-of-famers etc. speak, people stop and listen. It may be America’s Pastime but we no longer live in that same America.
No-Way do the playoffs get scrapped all together. Players have been vying to play for months now and while this is an important issue, I do not see them agreeing to cancel the playoffs as a way to protest police brutality. While Commissioner Manfred has said he supports player and team decisions, he would not allow the cancellation of the playoffs to occur.
No-Way there won’t be a tone-deaf statement made by Commissioner Rob Manfred. He always seems to just miss the mark whenever he speaks. Manfred has failed to make a coherent statement regarding MLB outbreaks of Coronavirus and I see this as no different. Manfred fails to answer the basic questions asked by reporters as to why something is the way it is and baseball should be concerned having Manfred as their main voice. It is interesting that MLB commercials and media show players are advocating BLM and not Manfred. The players have more power and influence but it’s still quite interesting.
For those of you who don’t agree with someone, just stop. Cut it out. People are entitled to their opinion in this country no matter what it is. The people that had the audacity to go on social media and trash Brewers reliever Devin Williams for writing “BLM” on the back of the mound need to re-evaluate how you said what you said. There is no need to call him derogatory names for standing up, as the single black player on the Brewers, for something he believes in. There is no situation where you need to go on social media and say such things. Think before you speak.
Featured image via STLToday.com.
Article updated 9/12/2020.