Sox Insider

Anderson, Renteria visit George Floyd memorial in Minneapolis

Sox Insider

The site of George Floyd's murder has been turned into a memorial, and White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson paid a visit Tuesday while the team was in Minneapolis to play against the Minnesota Twins.

Anderson posted several pictures of his visit to the location in Minneapolis on his Instagram account Tuesday afternoon, including ones taken with manager Rick Renteria and first-base coach Daryl Boston.

As depicted in Anderson's pictures, the area outside the store where Floyd was murdered by police in late May has been adorned with tributes, flowers, art and remembrances, as well as signs and displays of continued protest against racial injustice and police brutality against Black Americans in the United States.

Those protests, which have existed in the world of sports for some time, most notably coming in the form of former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick taking a knee during the national anthem, have grown in size this year, as have protests across the country.

On Opening Day in late July, players and coaches from every Major League Baseball team participated in a pregame act of protest, holding a symbolic piece of black cloth. Many continued Kaepernick's protest and took a knee during the national anthem. Anderson was joined by White Sox teammates José Abreu, Eloy Jiménez, Edwin Encarnación, Luis Robert and Lucas Giolito in kneeling during the anthem, along with coaches Boston and Joe McEwing, while Renteria and Yoán Moncada put their hands on Anderson's shoulders as he took a knee. Renteria and Jace Fry took a knee during the moment of silence prior to the national anthem.

 

Recently, in the wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, pro athletes have taken grander steps to protest police brutality against Black Americans and continue to increase awareness of racial injustice, with players and entire teams sitting out of games last week.

The White Sox schedule, more than anything, prevented them from joining in on the protests that swept the sporting world. They were in the middle of a day game when the protests began and brought a halt to the NBA and WNBA schedules, and their game was over by the time the protests came to baseball, with three games postponed last Wednesday. The White Sox were off Thursday, when seven more games were postponed as entire teams sat out in protest.

One more game, between the Houston Astros and Oakland Athletics, was postponed due to players sitting out when the White Sox returned to action Friday. But with that also being Jackie Robinson Day, the White Sox felt it important to play to honor his legacy of breaking the game's color line.

"Yesterday was a huge day, especially for the culture. Jackie Robinson did so much on and off the field, so definitely wanted to play yesterday," Anderson said Saturday. "There’s a lot of negative things that have been going on, so being able to play brings positives and makes me happy, a place that I can be happy and bring a lot of excitement and hopefully put on a show for people to put a smile on their face, as well. Obviously, it was Jackie Robinson Day, so definitely wanted to play.

"I definitely support everything that goes on with the protests 110 percent. ... I was just lost for words, being hurt and going through such a tough time. But you know, you try to bring some positive into it, and like I said, playing on Jackie Robinson Day definitely brought excitement to me, made me happy again. Just being on the field is definitely a positive and something I (can use to) kind of get away from so much negative."

Turning to baseball, as well as his family, in the face of such tragedies has been a part of Anderson's life for years, after his best friend was shot and killed in 2017. He's using baseball as a similar outlet in 2020, with the nation confronted with the continued police killings of Black Americans.

"It’s kind of the outlet for me to definitely go out and just have fun and not worry about everything else that’s going on around and just try to continue to grow and continue to have fun," he said Saturday.

But while Anderson is a focal point as one of the few Black American players on the White Sox roster — he was the only one on Opening Day — he has not been the only one to use his platform to discuss these important issues. In addition to participating in the Opening Day protest, both Renteria and Giolito have shared their thoughts numerous times.

 

"A segment of our society has been put in certain situations that have affected them negatively and affected their lives and their families. And it's not who we are as a people, as a society in America," Renteria said last week. "This is real life now we're dealing with. This is a pivotal moment in our societal growth for us as a country. ... In the essence of who we are as a people, as a society, we're all Americans and we should be standing together and trying to correct things and make each other better as we move along in this world."

"What went down with Jacob Blake, in my mind, that's unacceptable. That shouldn't be happening in a developed country," Giolito said a day earlier. "A man getting shot seven times in his back, that just shouldn't happen. I don't see why that's something that happened, why it has consistently been happening for a long time. ... We're all members of this society. We're all human beings. Me, as a human being, I believe that other human beings in this country should be treated fairly, with respect, shouldn't be afraid of their own police force in their cities."

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