Multiple MLB players decided decided to sit out of games on Wednesday night, joining other athletes who were protesting the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Jason Heyward of the Cubs, Matt Kemp of the Rockies and both Dexter Fowler and Jack Flaherty of the Cardinals opted out of playing on Wednesday as their respective teams played.
Heyward was originally to be in the lineup Wednesday night in Detroit against the Tigers, but was a late scratch. According to the Cubs, he had a conversation with manager David Ross and left the ballpark (via Sahadev Sharma). Heyward encouraged his team to play without him and they supported his decision, reports Jordan Bastian of MLB.com.
Rockies veteran Matt Kemp also announced he would not be playing on Wednesday in Colorado’s game against Arizona. Here’s what he said in an Instagram post:
Tonight I stand with my fellow professional athletes in protest of the injustices my people continue to suffer. I could not play this game I love so much tonight knowing the hurt and anguish my people continue to feel. In a world where we are the ones who need to remain calm while a trained professional points a gun in our face; a world where the people in uniforms who took an oath to protect us are the same ones killing us; a world where we become hashtags before we even reach our potential; we must stand together, speak out, protest, and be the change we demand, require, and need so bad. To the families who have experienced these tragedies first hand my heart breaks for you, my prayers are with you and I use my platform to speak on your behalf. I will be protesting tonight’s game in honor of all of my fallen brothers and sisters at the hands of police brutality. #BLM #JacobBlake #BreonnaTaylor #GeorgeFloyd #Saytheirnames
Later, the Cardinals announced both Fowler and Flaherty would not be playing on Wednesday.
Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, was shot by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin. According to video, police shot Blake multiple times in his back as he attempted to enter his vehicle. Blake remains hospitalized in serious condition, and attorneys for the family say he is now paralyzed. Blake’s shooting comes after weeks of turmoil and protest following the killing of George Floyd, another Black man, by Minneapolis police.