Last season the Los Angeles Dodgers were part of Major League Baseball taking a stand against social injustice and systemic racism, following in the strong statement that was started by the Milwaukee Bucks during the NBA Playoffs.
After the Dodgers and San Francisco Giants among the teams that decided to protest playing, manager Dave Roberts was accompanied by Mookie Betts, Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen as the group explained their reasoning behind not playing and lent their voices to calls for equality.
Kershaw in particular has been vocal in advocating for change and he took accountability for not being fully aware of challenges his Black teammates and other minorities have faced.
Over the weekend, Kershaw lent his support to The Players Alliance as they distributed food and baseball equipment to Dallas residents. Participating in the drive-thru event as snow fell was a no-brainer for Kershaw, per Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News:
“To be able to feed kids that might not have the food they need, why wouldn’t you want to be a part of that?” asked Highland Park’s Clayton Kershaw, whose day job most recently included pitching the Los Angeles Dodgers to their first World Series win since 1988. “I think what this tour is doing, going from city to city, is amazing stuff.”
Kershaw reiterated his strong belief that equality should not be a contentious goal and he must use his voice to help advocate for it:
“This has been a year of education for a lot of people, like myself and other white athletes,” Kershaw said. “You can’t always be a silent advocate, especially when you have a platform. At the end of the day, we want everybody to have the same opportunities.
“There were things that I didn’t understand what they meant, things like systemic racism. I thought you either were racist or you weren’t. I didn’t know that sometimes the system creates them. To learn some of that and understand some of that, you realize you can’t just be silent about it. Sometimes you have to use your voice to be an ally.”
The Players Alliance was formed last summer by several Black MLB players who aimed to be more active in supporting communities. Betts and David Price are among those involved in the group, and former DoDgers outfielder Matt Kemp is a founding member.
The Players Alliance started their “Pull Up Neighbor” tour last December in New York and have 10 more stops on the 33-city journey that is spanning across the United States.
Betts appreciated support from Dodgers
While Betts planned to sit out a game last August against the Giants, he did not expect the Dodgers to follow him. The team’s decision to support Betts wound up resonating.
“I know for me, I was already tight with everybody in the clubhouse but now I know everybody has my back even more than I already thought, means a lot,” he said at the time. “I’ll always remember this day and this team just having my back.
“This organization has been nothing but amazing.”
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