Jaylin Davis did something very difficult Saturday.
The Giants' rookie outfielder penned a column for the team's blog, and he opened up about racism he faced during his high school and college baseball career.
Davis, who played his college ball at Appalachian State, wrote about the time fans made racist comments towards him during a game in his sophomore season.
"I was running down a ball in right centerfield when I heard a couple guys in the crowd yell something about a monkey and bananas," Davis wrote. "I was kind of shocked, but didn’t say anything. I felt if I reacted, they’d know it got to me and that would make it worse. I already had the pressure of it being the first game of the season and it was against one of the top teams (Arkansas) in the SEC at the time. I just kept telling myself to stay focused on the game and tune everything else out.
"Our right-fielder heard what was said and began yelling at the guys. When we got back to the dugout he told the coaches what happened on the field. The coaches immediately asked if I was OK. I said I was, even though I wasn’t. I was angry, hurt, and in shock. Here it was 2014 and these guys felt safe enough to yell such an outrageous, racist comment in public. As I was warming up in between innings an older white couple sitting nearby called me over and apologized and said that they had security remove the guys from the game."
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Davis grew up in Greensboro, North Carolina and attended Northeast Guilford High School. The soon-to-be 26-year-old also recalled an incident from his Northeast Guilford days.
"The opposing team’s player hit a home run, and as he jogged past our first baseman, he called him the N-word," Davis wrote. "Later in the game, he said it again. Both times, the first-base umpire (who was white) did nothing and said nothing. In the post-game handshake line, one of their players used the word a third time. Two of my teammates -- twin brothers who grew up with me and are white -- confronted the guy, who had made the comments.
"The next thing we knew the situation got out of control real fast. The next day we found out that several players on the opposing team plus a coach were suspended for the rest of the season."
Amid the growing push for racial equality, Davis was also one of 61 Black MLB players to help put together a video calling for change.
Davis' column drew support from his Giants teammates, coaches and a prominent member of the organization.
“But unless we all find a way to openly talk and genuinely listen to each other about racism, we have no hope of rooting it out.” Glad you’re speaking up, @Jay_Dave23. Powerful words and experiences from JD and @dup_thereitis. https://t.co/eZW5C2Y2Uu— gabe kapler (@gabekapler) June 20, 2020
The Giants expect big things from Davis on the field, but they got something even more important from him off of it while the 2020 MLB season hangs in the balance.
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