The official start for the 2020 MLB season is finally in sight. While many are looking forward to obtaining a level of normalcy with the return of sports, there is that lingering thought in the back of our minds that nothing is truly going to be the same moving forward.
Yes, this speaks for all of the new protocols and procedures put in place amid the coronavirus outbreak — social distancing when not playing, no fans in the crowd, masks worn when necessary — but it also speaks for something on a much larger level.
Over the course of the past few months, now more than ever, many have spoken out against racial injustice within the country. In the wake of the police killing of George Floyd, there have been many speaking out against racial injustice, sparking protests and conversations nationwide.
The San Francisco Giants on Monday played their first game in what feels like a lifetime, but in reality was only about four months — and in that stoppage of play, it feels like the world has changed so much.
Former Phillies manager Gabe Kapler is one of many within the Giants organization to push the conversation further and use his platform to give a voice to those who aren’t being heard.
Kapler, along with other players and coaches kneeled during the anthem in the moments leading up to their first game back. Even though it was just an exhibition game, they wanted to utilize their platform regardless.
Prior to the game, Kapler shared his plans when addressing the team and noted that no matter what each individual decided to do, everyone would be supported.
“I wanted them to know that I wasn’t pleased with the way our country has handled police brutality,” Kapler said. “I told them I wanted to amplify their voices and I wanted to amplify the voice of the Black community and marginalized communities as well. So I told them that I wanted to use my platform to demonstrate my dissatisfaction with our clear systemic racism in our country and I wanted them to know that they got to make their own decisions and we would respect and support those decisions. I wanted them to feel safe in speaking up.”
A few weeks ago, the Phillies’ new manager Joe Girardi also spoke on the subject and expressed the support he would have for his players.
"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."
While sports are slowly returning and life might feel normal once more, it’s very clear that things will never quite be the same.
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