Cain: ‘Systemic change needs to happen’

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    MILWAUKEE — Lorenzo Cain was home in Oklahoma when he heard the news from Ryan Braun. The Brewers, following the lead of the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks, had unanimously decided not to play Wednesday’s scheduled game against the Reds at Miller Park.
    « They’re doing what’s right, and for me, this is

    MILWAUKEE — Lorenzo Cain was home in Oklahoma when he heard the news from Ryan Braun. The Brewers, following the lead of the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks, had unanimously decided not to play Wednesday’s scheduled game against the Reds at Miller Park.

    « They’re doing what’s right, and for me, this is about right and wrong, » Cain said. « Systemic change needs to happen. We need to get there soon, because this world is definitely on a downward spiral, if I say so myself. All the looting, the violence, I definitely don’t condone that. But the things you’re seeing day in and day out, it’s hard to put into words sometimes. I have kids myself, and it’s hard to keep stuff like that from them as they get older.

    « It’s been a tough year, but I’m proud of what my teammates are doing in Milwaukee. »

    Cain knew the decision was the culmination of weeks of conversations about racial inequality, sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and reinvigorated last weekend by the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis. Blake survived the shooting, but he is paralyzed from the waist down, according to his lawyer, and the incident sparked new protests.

    Cain knew the topic was on the team’s collective mind because he has been part of the conversation, even though he elected in early August not to play the remainder of 2020, citing concerns about COVID-19 and also because he was « trying to get my life right with God. » Just this week, Cain said, he and other Brewers players took part in a Zoom session with principal owner Mark Attanasio and president of baseball operations David Stearns. Both men offered full support of whatever players decided to do, including financial support if necessary, Cain said.

    « It’s just trying to figure out a way to get this changed and continue to fight for equality for Black people, » Cain said. « That’s been the main fight. I definitely don’t condone the violence, but something definitely has to change soon. »

    Cain, who grew up in Madison County, Fla., and has played in Milwaukee and Kansas City in his Major League career, indicated he he’s been fortunate to generally avoid bigotry in his personal life. But Brewers reliever Devin Williams, the only Black player currently on Milwaukee’s active roster, told of a more troubling experience.

    « We’ve been trying to figure out a way to get this changed and continue to fight for equality for Black people. That’s just been the main fight. »Lorenzo Cain isn’t physically with the @Brewers but is focused on finding solutions with his team. pic.twitter.com/lAYsUANcyt

    Asked if he had endured racism, Williams said, « Absolutely. I mean, there’s no particular story that I’d like to share, or that even comes to mind because it’s happened so many times that they all just kind of blend together. I’m from St Louis, which is one of the most segregated cities in this country. It’s not always the easiest places to grow up for anyone, let alone a Black man. But you just have to adjust to your environment and adapt if you want to survive and thrive in this country. »

    Williams said he has been reluctant to talk about those experiences, but the Brewers’ recent conversations have changed that. He was one of seven to eight players who spoke Wednesday during the team’s afternoon meeting, which culminated in a unanimous vote to sit out for the day.

    « I’ve had strong feelings for a long time, but I just held them down because I felt that I couldn’t express those views, » Williams said. « But the support I’ve received, and the support of my teammates that everyone’s given me, it’s been tremendous and allowed me to feel comfortable speaking out. »

    « From my perspective, » Brewers manager Craig Counsell said, « Devin has been a voice. Maybe not publicly, but I know for me he’s been a very important voice. The most important voice. And I can’t stress that enough. I do think the other players recognize that Devin is a young player, he has been a rock through this thing for all of us. »

    « In any movement, there’s always going to be people who disagree with you, » Williams said. « So it doesn’t really matter to me. Personally, I know what our message is and my personal message is. That’s the only thing that’s important. »

    Williams added, « I think in 10-15 years from now, history will look back and realize that we were right in what we did. I know that it’s a day that I’ll never forget. Just the support that I was made to feel, and just being able to be myself in this world. It’s just something that I’ll never forget. »

    Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram and like him on Facebook.


    SOURCE: https://www.w24news.com

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