In these turbulent times, and even before, Phillies outfielder/leadoff man/leader Andrew McCutchen has been a vocal advocate for social change.

He has posted his thoughts on Twitter. He joined other high-profile sports figures in putting his name on an op-ed piece in USA Today that urged social reform. He serves on the active player advisory board for the recently formed Players Alliance, a group whose mission is "to build an inclusive culture and equitable systems in order to change the trajectory of diversity throughout baseball."

McCutchen, 33, will continue to speak out because, "I want change and I'm not one to say something then put my feet up. I'm staying involved, trying to make the world a better place."

McCutchen's action steps toward social justice, however, will not include his taking a knee during the National Anthem when baseball starts playing games next week.

"I don't plan on taking a knee," he said. "I think we all understand — we should by now understand — what the knee means, people who do take a knee. People are going to feel the way they feel about it. For me personally, it's not something I'm going to do or to partake in. At the same time, anyone who does that, they have my support. If they feel like they should protest, that is what they'll do. To answer that question, that's not something I plan on doing."

McCutchen went on to say that he's spoken with athletes who feel the need to take a knee and he believes their reasons are sincere and completely legitimate.


McCutchen added that he's also spoken with people who feel the need to "put a hand on their chest" during the anthem and their reasons are sincere and legitimate.

He respects both sides.

"I think it's about all of us having an understanding of each other and talking and having an open dialogue about why we're doing what we're doing regardless of the reasoning," McCutchen said. "It's all about having that open dialogue and conversing about it. That's how this whole thing can make things better.

"I'm all about being part of something and doing something to create change. Not just change, but positive change. I'm not just about talking about the problems that exist or talking about things that have happened. We have a lot of people that do that in this world, and a lot of people who are really good at it. I'm not going to sit here and say I'm an activist now or I'm a scholar in this way. 

"But I do also understand that I can make a difference in some way, shape or form, so I will be a part of things — nothing specific to really talk about, but just so people know, I'm about the change. I'm not about just talking about the problems. I'm about making a change."

Last week Phillies manager Joe Girardi said he would support his players if they used their baseball forum and visibility to protest or make their feelings known.

"I think that we'll probably see some things," Girardi said. "You know, people have a lot of different feelings, and it's important as teammates and as organizations that we understand that players have a lot of different feelings and all of this affects them in different ways, and that we're understanding and that we try to understand other people's points of view.

"So, I believe there probably will be some things that happen during the course of the season and I support my players wholeheartedly."

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