Jackie Bradley Jr. has watched the George Floyd protests touch every corner of America, and he can't help but feel emotional.
With the Black Lives Matter movement forcing a long overdue racial reckoning, Bradley hopes the result is permanent change of a very personal nature.
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"It has to start with a change of the heart," Bradley said in a Zoom call with reporters on Monday. "That's what it all comes back to. You've got to have the heart to be able to physically, emotionally, and mentally make that change to be better. Not only for yourself, but for others around. We've come a long way as a nation, but we still have some ways to go. I'm praying that we can get to the place that we need to be."
Bradley has spoken to manager Ron Roenicke and teammates about his experiences. He also took to heart the words of former All-Star outfielder Torii Hunter, who recently told an interviewer that he heard more racist language directed at him in Fenway Park than anywhere else, which is why Hunter had a no-trade clause to Boston.
Bradley declined to discuss his specific experiences, saying those conversations are for another time, but he did empathize with Hunter.
"I definitely heard what Torii talked about," Bradley said. "I've talked with Torii since I was a rookie. He's an amazing mentor, someone that you can go to and just discuss anything, whether it's just life, baseball, family. There's a lot of guys that I've spoken with along the way. For them to give me knowledge to use and help my career is something that I'm very appreciative for.
"I think everybody has different experiences, and I'm not here to compare my experience to his. I'm sure we've all had different experiences in certain situations, certain places. But I just hope we get better and make a change."
And Bradley knows that changes need to happen. It can't be through laws or rules, but core beliefs.
"It all boils down to people just have to want that change," he said. "You can't force it on anybody. We have to show a lot more love in this country."