The 2020 Major League Baseball season will finally commence this week, nearly four months after the original Opening Day was supposed to be held.
To say that a lot has transpired over the span would be an understatement. Players will have to follow strict health and safety protocols this year as the world continues to grapple with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
There will also be a focus on social justice across the sports world. Particularly in the NBA, where players are permitted to share a special message on the back of their jersey.
The NBA also announced plans to paint a “Black Lives Matter” message on the sidelines of all three courts that will be used at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida.
Whether MLB will adopt a similar strategy remains to be seen, but there are conversations being held with players about how to integrate social justice elements into the sport this season, via ESPN’s Buster Olney:
Major League Baseball and players have been in conversation about how to incorporate social justice elements into the sport, according to league and player sources, with the most recent conversation scheduled for Sunday. It’s unclear what form the elements will take, whether it be some kind of logo placed on uniforms or something shared and fronted by players.
While it’s currently unclear what MLB may have in mind, Oakland Athletics second baseman Tony Kemp hinted that the league’s African American players will make some sort of a statement on Opening Day.
Such could include kneeling during the National Anthem, which former Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell most notably did at the end of the 2017 season.
Clayton Kershaw urging athletes to promote change
Last month, Clayton Kershaw issued a statement on the eve of Juneteenth, recognizing the importance of the day while extending his support to the Black Lives Matter movement.
The left-hander believes white athletes have an obligation to use their voice to facilitate the necessary change needed for equality throughout society. His powerful words were met with praise from the likes of David Price, Kenley Jansen and Walker Buehler.
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