As professional sports teams not just in the United States but all across the planet are coming together to make public statements that at the very least denounce the systemic racism that black people face and at the most also denounce the system that allows racism against black people to flourish, the Braves have joined the growing list of teams to release a statement. Although they were the last team in the Atlanta metro area to make a statement, it’s still better late than never — especially considering that we’ve seen an example of an organization that is actually willing to stand idly by and say nothing during this time.
This was also accompanied with the Braves following suit with a bunch of other sports teams by blacking out their logo in support of Black Out Tuesday, which is actually causing some debate among people who are protesting as to whether or not this is actually helpful. Either way, the Braves have decided to show some support for what people are currently in the streets protesting in an effort to eradicate racism. They may not have addressed the exact reason why people are protesting in cities all across the world right now and the Braves themselves still have some questions that need to be answered as far as the Tomahawk Chop goes, but it’s still a decent gesture from the organization to actually say something when silence was definitely an option.
Here’s a sampling of what the players (past and present) have had to say on social media (and I encourage you not to just scroll past these posts; please read every single word that they put out there):
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I am ANGRY. I am SAD. I am TIRED. Seeing a 5 year old yesterday wear a shirt say “please don’t shoot me” broke my soul in half. He shouldn’t have to wear that shirt. He shouldn’t have to be worrying about any of that. This is the world we live in!? I am BLACK. I have been racially profiled. I have been told “I can’t date you because my family doesn’t like blacks.” I have sat in hand cuffs because a cop felt threatened because he saw two black kids in a nice car. I have been told I am NOT black because I speak proper. I WILL not sit quiet knowing my platform. I WILL stand with the people who fight day in and day out to stop racism. I WILL have these difficult conversations with my WHITE BROTHERS. I WILL do everything in my power to explain and make them understand what it is to be BLACK in AMERICA. This has to stop. ENOUGH is ENOUGH. My brothers and sisters we HAVE to do better. STOP looking at the color in a man/woman and see him for who he/she is. This all starts with us. YES, the system is unjust but the system is also your brother that’s sitting next to you that can make that change for your children and generations to come. I encourage you all to go out there and stand with the people. March with them. Feel for them. We are hurting. WE ARE THE CHANGE.
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This is a hard post to write. I have sat back and watched what has happened in our country the past few days, and it has led me to share my thoughts. I grew up going to a high school where I was a minority. I was the only white kid on the basketball team. And I loved everything about it. I have been surrounded by, and loved black culture ever since I was a little kid. I believe it is time to not only love and embrace black communities and culture, but stand up for and vocally support them. I never understood, until now, how privileged I was growing up. I never had to look over my shoulder because of my skin color. Never had to worry about judgments being thrown at me because of my skin color. And never caught an odd look because of my skin color. It is absolutely heartbreaking to see how a human born with a non-white skin color can be put at a disadvantage strictly because of that color. I did not know how to come out and speak my mind. I never looked at myself as an activist, someone to speak up on issues like what we are experiencing. I have always considered myself to be a leader by serving others, and trying to be a light in the midst of the darkness. However, I have now reached the point where I feel that doing that without expressing myself, will not move the needle forward. We must speak up to put it on record, and then lead by example, holding ourselves accountable for what we speak on. This is more than words. It is actions. It is being a part of the solution. We all must educate ourselves because when we lack knowledge, we develop ignorance. That ignorance turns to hate, which leads to more and more pain and suffering. Now more than ever, we must unify together as HUMANS. This is HUMANS against evil. This has everything to do with human rights, and defeating the hatred and injustice, toward humans with a different skin color. We must rise up together and be more loving. More genuine. More understanding. More optimistic. And more peaceful. We must take a long deep look at ourselves in the mirror, and say, I am going to strive for a life full of abundant love. For everybody out there, ALL my brothers and sisters, I am with you. Forever and Always.
As terrible as this experience has been, we know that it's practically nothing compared to the systemic racism and violence against Black life that he was protesting in the first place. Black communities across America have been terrorized for centuries by excessive police force.— Dale Murphy (@DaleMurphy3) June 1, 2020
That’s just a sampling and there’s more where that came from. As a black man, I do appreciate the fact that it appears that more and more people from all walks of life and from all points of interest are actually stepping up and saying something. This situation isn’t new — we’ve seen unarmed black men get killed by either a police officer or a “concerned” neighbor time and time again and it always seems as if the conversation only lasts for a day or two before we go back to normal. However, this incident combined with “going back to normal” meaning “going back to life in a sports-less America during a pandemic” and the massive protests that have broken out over the past week means that this is something that our society actually has to reckon with for a while.
I encourage all of you who are reading this to talk to someone you know who thinks that this is all a bunch of nonsense and everybody’s getting worked up for no good reason. If that results in an awkward conversation, then that’s good. If that results in you having to make a tough choice to cut loose a friend who won’t cut loose their hatred, then that’s even better. The point is that it’s clear that most of society is ready to progress into a time where we don’t have to have protests and violence breaking out en masse because that would mean that unarmed black men wouldn’t be getting killed anymore. As the Braves and many others have said, “ENOUGH.”