In an emotional media availability following the Baltimore Orioles postponement against the Tampa Bay Rays, pitcher Alex Cobb was clear in his remarks that it's time to unite during one of the nation's most divisive times in recent years.
"Alex, this has to be a very difficult issue for you because you have a number of African American teammates, and you have a brother who's a police officer. Is this a difficult issue for you?" one reporter asked.
"Extremely," Cobb said. "But I'm learning to not look at it through those lenses anymore. I think in the beginning you had to be on one side or the other. You had to be for our police, or for our inner-city communities. I just don't think that was the right way to look at things."
It's an issue that Cobb's able to shed plenty of insight on. As the reporter pointed out, Cobb's brother, R.J., who also served in as an Army commander and earned a Purple Heart, is a cop. Yet, Cobb's experiences with teammates like Miguel Castro, Mychal Givens, Dillon Tate, and Cesar Valdez has helped provide another light.
"I will always respect every single person that puts on a uniform and goes out to protect us, but I also have had too many moments where I look into my friends' eyes, or my teammates' eyes. I can see that they're dealing with some real struggles, their hearts are heavy. We need to find a way to start the conversation to mend the two sides rather than picking a side," said Cobb.
At the end of the day, the move to postpone games in the MLB, NBA, WNBA, MLS, and even cancel practices in the NFL has delivered not only a historic moment in modern professional sports, but also could launch as a stepping stone for meaningful change for the marginalized communities that yearn for justice.
"I don't know what that avenue is. It's something that's evolving each day. I think what we're seeing in our communities and with our athletes, there was a little bit of friction before and it's starting to mend," said Cobb. "I think that's a good first step, but I pray that we're able to find a way to everybody to love everybody."