Multiple sports teams across Major League Baseball and the NBA took an unprecedented stand against police brutality and systemic racism on Wednesday.
It began with the Milwaukee Bucks boycotting their Game 5 matchup against the Orlando Magic. The Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets followed suit, and they were later joined by the L.A. Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers.
As for MLB, the Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds led the way by not taking the field. The San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners also opted against playing, and so too did the L.A. Dodgers and San Francisco Giants.
Clayton Kershaw explained the Dodgers made a collective decision to boycott Wednesday’s contest against the Giants as show of support for Mookie Betts and other Black teammates and members of the organization.
“More than anything, as a teammate of Mookie’s, as a member of this team with Doc, George, Travis, Kenley and all these guys, as a white player on this team, it’s how can we show support,” Kershaw said.
“What’s something tangible we can do to help our Black brothers on this team? Once Mookie said he wasn’t going to play, that really started our conversation as a team on what we can do to support that. We felt the best thing to do was support that by not playing.
“Mookie was great by saying, ‘If you guys want to play, I support that.’ But we made a group decision to not play and let our voices be heard for standing up for what we believe is right. That’s what it comes down to. We just wanted to do the right thing as a team, and I think the first step in that was by not playing.”
Even if the Dodgers and Giants went forward with playing Wednesday’s contest, Betts revealed that he would’ve taken himself out of the starting lineup. Manager Dave Roberts also noted he would have skipped the game.
What transpired in the sports world on Wednesday was nothing short of monumental. It may ultimately be viewed in the same light as Jackie Robinson Day someday.
Kershaw, however, isn’t concerned about that and simply wants to keep supporting his Black teammates anyway he can. “At the end of the day for me, it’s how do you love people well,” he said.
“I think that’s what I keep coming back to. What some of our Black teammates and Black players around the league, some of the things they’ve been through, I’ll never understand. It’s just figuring how to support them in the best way possible.
“I don’t have the right answer, but for tonight, I feel the right answer for us and myself as a white man, was to sit out with them. I think that’s ultimately what we’re going to have to do is just continue to listen to them and then try to figure out the best way to love people well with that.”
Less than 24 hours removed from boycotting the middle matchup of their three-game series, the Dodgers and Giants will make up the game as part of a doubleheader on Thursday at Oracle Park.
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