Colin Kaepernick’s decision not to stand for the national anthem has started a movement that’s become too loud to ignore. But don’t expect to hear any noise from Major League Baseball.
A number of players on several NFL teams showed various signs of solidarity this weekend to protest the oppression and mistreatment of minority groups in the U.S. They weren’t the only ones, as soccer stars and high school football teams also have staged silent demonstrations during the national anthem.
With those protests now pervading the sports world, Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones recently was asked why the movement hasn’t spread to MLB, where a busy schedule provides a daily platform for players to send a message.
His response was brutally honest.
“We already have two strikes against us already,’’ Jones told USA TODAY Sports. “So you might as well not kick yourself out of the game. In football, you can’t kick them out. You need those players. In baseball, they don’t need us.
“Baseball is a white man’s sport.’’
Jones is right; just eight percent of MLB players are black (69 players total), compared to 68 percent in the NFL and 74 percent in the NBA, according to USA TODAY Sports. The Orioles veteran said he doesn’t plan on following in Kaepernick’s footsteps, but he respects what the San Francisco 49ers quarterback is doing.
“He believes in what he believes in,’’ Jones said, “and as a man of faith, as an American who has rights, who am I to say he’s wrong?
“Kaepernick is not disrespecting the military. He’s not disrespecting people who they’re fighting. What he’s doing is showing that he doesn’t like the social injustice that the flag represents.
Jones also had some strong words about the national anthem as it relates to social protests.
“Look, I know a lot of people who don’t even know the words to the national anthem. You know how many times I see people stand up for the national anthem and not pay attention? They stand because they’re told to stand.
“That’s the problem. Just don’t do something because you’re told to do something. Do it because you understand the meaning behind it and the sacrifice behind it.”
Thumbnail photo via Evan Habeeb/USA TODAY Sports Images