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Girardi supports MLB players taking action in response to shooting of Jacob Blake


Although no Philadelphia Phillies players approached manager Joe Girardi about not playing to protest racism in the United States on Wednesday night, he would support any player who wanted to do so.

PHILADELPHIA, PA – JULY 24: Players join in solidarity by holding a symbolic black ribbon prior to the game between the Miami Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies on July 24, 2020 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire)

“I would tell them to go with their heart,” Girardi said via Zoom when asked what he would say to a player wanting to not play to take a stand. “Feelings are feelings — they’re never right or wrong. They’re just feelings. And you got to go with your heart, what your heart tells you. I would support them, whatever they did.”

While the Phillies defeated the Washington Nationals in their game for Girardi’s 1,000th win as a manager, three Major League Baseball games were not played on Wednesday night, as players decided to strike in protest of the shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, by Kenosha, Wisconsin police. Several other players decided not to play in their teams’ games that did take place.

Blake was shot in the back by police on Sunday. His father has said that he is now paralyzed from the waist down.

Baseball players’ decisions followed that of the Milwaukee Bucks players, whose historic choice to sit out their playoff game resulted in the cancellation of all of Wednesday’s NBA postseason games. WNBA players also decided not to play any of their scheduled games.

The players on Milwaukee’s baseball team, the Milwaukee Brewers, were the first MLB team to decide not to play Wednesday. The opposing Cincinnati Reds players agreed to sit out the game as well.

Seattle Mariners players decided not to participate in their game against the San Diego Padres. As said by Jeff Passan of ESPN on Twitter, the Mariners have the most Black players of any team. Mariners infielder/outfielder Dee Gordon issued a statement on Twitter following the players’ decision, bringing further attention to the issues of systemic racism in the United States.

Wednesday’s game between the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers was also postponed.

After the game was officially postponed, Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts told reporters including Kerry Crowley of The Mercury News that he would not have played if the game was held. Four players whose games were played by their teams did make that same choice on Wednesday night — Matt Kemp of the Colorado Rockies, Dexter Fowler and Jack Flaherty of the St. Louis Cardinals and Jason Heyward of the Chicago Cubs took a stand while their teammates played in their absences.

The postponement of the game between the Giants and Dodgers came after San Francisco manager Gabe Kapler told reporters earlier in the day that he would support his players in using their platforms to bring awareness to these issues, and that he believes in taking a stand.

“Some things, I think, are just bigger than sports, and I don’t think it should require athletes needing to remind us Black lives matter and that police brutality is unacceptable and that systemic racism needs to be eliminated,” he said. “What I believe in most is speaking out and taking strong action based on your beliefs. I’m aware that the Bucks and now some other NBA teams are doing that, and I have the utmost respect for the players who are refusing to be silent about issues that are bigger than sports. Racism and police brutality are issues that we’re not going to be silent about either.”

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