There will be no shutting up and playing baseball within the Cubs organization, team president Theo Epstein told reporters Friday.
Epstein was referencing the oft-criticized comments made by FOX News anchor Laura Ingraham two years ago against NBA players speaking out on racial injustice in America. With athletes today using their platforms to call for societal change in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police, Epstein made it clear where the Cubs stand.
“Our players have heard the message loud and clear that we want them to express themselves and be themselves and that we see them as people and as citizens, not just as players,” Epstein told reporters Friday on Zoom.
“The concept of shutting up and dribbling — or shutting up and playing baseball, in this case — does not apply in this organization and I think it's important that we pass on that message loud and clear.
“Any opportunity we have to support our players and to encourage them to speak their minds and express themselves as they followed this journey of personal growth, as we all are, we should certainly take it and we are.”
Epstein has been outspoken about systemic racism following Floyd’s death, vowing to look inward for solutions last month. He led an MLB-wide initiative around the draft where the top executives from each team and the teams themselves donated more than $1 million to five organizations supporting Black Lives Matter.
Those organizations are the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Equal Justice Initiative, Color of Change, Campaign Zero and the Jackie Robinson Foundation.
Epstein and the Cubs recently formed a diversity committee, which he said last week has “real authority” and “a real opportunity to make a difference in several important areas” the Cubs have room for improvement.