Athletics

A's Kemp continues conversations on social media about race

Athletics

Tony Kemp created the "+1 Effect" this summer, aimed at constructive conversation toward racial divides.

Now several months removed from more tense times, things are still progressing, yet a little slower than at the launch.

“It’s harder to maintain that traction,” Kemp told NBC Sports California recently. “Just because things aren’t really happening in the world right now.”

“When it was happening, it was easier to talk about," Kemp added. "Now that it’s died down, I’m still getting inboxes of people asking me what it is.”

The "effect" is simply opening up the lines of communication via email and social platforms. He would like to (as his shirts say) "be the change," one person at a time. And he’d like others to do the same. 

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Kemp has frequently replied in Twitter threads, then made progress via direct messaging.

But in the last six months, he’s also had to diffuse opposition that came in hot.

"It’s not losing your temper,” said Kemp. “I’ve told people -- you might lose friends, you might lose acquaintances, but at least you stood up and you defended someone who couldn’t.”

Kemp can recall one specific interaction he had during the baseball season, where the initial inquiry didn’t begin so pleasant, but at least ended with progress.

 

“I said look, you can’t take it or leave it, at least we had the conversation,” Kemp recalled. “I don’t want to say he specifically changed his beliefs and changed everything that he was about. I think that he became 10-percent more open-minded to stepping into the shoes of someone who is Black.”

“Those instances are really what we’re talking about.”

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Kemp recently signed a 1-year contract extension with Oakland for 2021, and similar to his efforts on the field, his work off the diamond will continue in parallel.

“It’s not a hot topic thing," Kemp said, "it’s continuous.”