BALTIMORE – It was a somber, serious Adam Jones. Jones knows he has a special place in the Baltimore community and as perhaps the most recognized African-American athlete in this city, his words matter.
“The last 72 hours, I think in this city, have been tumultuous to say the least. We’ve seen good, we’ve seen bad, we’ve seen ugly,” Jones said.
“It’s a city that’s hurting, a city that needs its heads of the city to stand up, step up and help the ones that are hurting. It’s not an easy time right now for anybody. It doesn’t matter what race you are.”
Jones comes from San Diego, and he came up with Seattle before getting traded to the Orioles in 2008. He quickly became active in the community. He’s refurbished two Boys and Girls Clubs in Baltimore, and is working on a third.
“I say to the youth, your frustration is warranted. The actions, I don’t think are acceptable. If you come from where they come from, you understand, but ruining the community that you have to live in is never the answer due to the fact that you’re going to have to wake up in three or four days and go back to those convenience stores, go back to all these stores,” Jones said.
“This is their cry. This isn’t a cry that is acceptable, but this is their cry, and therefore we have to understand it. Like I said, they need hugs. They need love. They need support. As much as I can give, as much as I know people on the opposition can give, I’m going to try and give as much as I can because the city needs it.”
Jones is not only the highest profile Oriole, but the most outspoken. He closely follows current affairs and is friendly with Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
“I feel the pain of these kids. Let’s not forget I grew in similar tracks as them,” Jones said. “It’s just not easy, seeing a community that you’re trying to affect change in, seeing these kind of things. These kids are hurting. These kids have seen the pain in their parent’s eyes, the pain in their grandparent’s eyes over decades. This is their way of speaking on behalf of their parents and behalf of their grandparents and people who have been hurt.”
Jones identifies with the young people he sees on the streets.
“I understand the situation that these kids are in. Not too long ago, I was one of those teenagers, using city transportation, meeting up at the mall with my friends after school. Doing all of the same things,” Jones said.
The first two games of this three-game series were postponed. They’ll be played on May 28. This weekend’s games against Tampa Bay will be played at Tropicana Field. There was some question if this game would come off.
“We need this game to be played, but we need this city to be healed first,” Jones said.