Chicago Cubs President Theo Epstein was at the forefront of Major League Baseball’s involvement in acknowledging groups that support the Black Lives Matter movement.
And his players plan to make a collective statement Friday night before the season opener against the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field.
“We’ve had multiple meetings on the racial injustice topic, and we’ve got a plan in place for opening day that these guys are unified with,” manager David Ross said Wednesday before the Cubs’ exhibition game against the Minnesota Twins.
Before the first organized summer-camp workout July 3, the Cubs held a team meeting in which outfielder Jason Heyward invited teammates to ask questions about the BLM movement and his involvement.
“We’re here for equality,” Heyward said the next day. “We’re not here saying we’re perfect. Everyone has their struggles and differences.
“We’re here to speak up.”
Howard Bryant of ESPN reported that teams will have the option of wearing patches to promote social justice.
Manager Gabe Kapler and several of his San Francisco Giants players took a knee Monday before their exhibition game against the Oakland Athletics, and Los Angeles Angels pitcher Keynan Middleton took a knee and raised his fist before a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Four Cincinnati Reds players, including Joey Votto, took a knee before Tuesday’s game against the Detroit Tigers.
After Epstein spoke out in early June following a peaceful demonstration he attended, the Cubs formed a diversity committee.
“There have been some great discussions and great conversations learning a lot about things that we don’t see or what other people may be going through,” Ross said. “It’s been really powerful, I think for this group, to have those discussions and brought us close together.
“It’s been very rewarding on my end. We’ve got great leadership here between players and our front-office group and our coaching staff — we’ve got some really good leadership in that area.”
Opening day starter Kyle Hendricks said the exact plan hasn’t been finalized.
“The main point is that we’re all together in this,” Hendricks said. “We’re a family here. We’re going to be unified and moving, moving forward together.
“I just want to support my guys, especially J-Hey, (Jeremy) Jeffress, all these guys. We just want to support them as much as we can.”
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