Professional athletes have at times been outspoken against racism and police brutality against Black Americans.
That’s especially true in the NBA and at times in the NFL.
Baseball players have been far quieter in terms of pre-game displays of protest in the past, outside of former A’s catcher Bruce Maxwell kneeling during the national anthem late in the 2017 season.
Oakland second baseman Tony Kemp says that’s about to change.
“It’s definitely going to look a bit different,” he said Monday in a video conference with A’s reporters.
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That’s being discussed by the Players Alliance, a group of current and former Black players devoted to using their platforms to enact positive change.
Kemp is part of a group led by Curtis Granderson, C.C. Sabathia and Edwin Jackson that wants to act and speak out against racial injustice, especially after recent acts of police brutality against Black Americans and the ensuing protests that have brought greater attention to the systemic racism that has existed in the United States since its inception.
Black players across MLB plan to make a statement on Opening Day of this shortened 60-game season protesting racial inequality and police brutality against Black Americans.
“Right now, for Opening Day, most guys are going to have a different avenue,” Kemp said. “Some guys are going to have a piece of black cloth to show unity. Some guys might kneel. Some guys might have a black hat to hold over their heart. There will be something that will be shown on Opening Day and I plan on being a part of it. I feel like it’s one thing to talk about what you’re going to do but, if you don’t have any actions to go along with it, I don’t think it really means anything.
“I think that Black players will be participating in doing something on Opening Day, and it’s going to be unified. I’m excited to see it. “
The A’s have been supportive of Kemp’s +-1 Effect, a movement focused on changing minds about racism through conversation, one person at a time.
Kemp expects the same support from A’s teammates with whatever he chooses to do on Opening Day.
“I know that a lot of teammates will be supportive and have our backs with it,” Kemp said. “That’s important.”