Angels reliever Keynan Middleton, who kneeled and raised his right fist during the National Anthem on Monday night, released a statement on Tuesday morning relaying the message he was trying to send.
“Racism is something I have dealt with my entire life. As a black man in this country it is my obligation to want to better the future for generations to come. Over the past few months I’ve been out in the community taking part in peaceful protests and having the difficult conversations that are needed for change.
“Before pioneers like Jackie Robinson, a Black man didn’t have a voice in the game of baseball. The foundation laid down and sacrifices made by Jackie and others is the reason why I have the platform I do. I will not allow that to go to waste. Kneeling for me is one way I can use my platform for change in a peaceful way.
“I have the utmost respect for all the brave men and women that served this country. We must all take this fight against racial injustice seriously. Until things start to change in this country and my brothers and sisters don’t have to live in fear, I will be using my platform to implement change.
“Martin Luther King Jr. once said, ‘An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.’
“Through this, I strive to be a voice for unity.”
— La llave (@since93key) July 21, 2020
A night earlier, Manager Joe Maddon endorsed Middleton’s decision to kneel during the Anthem. He said Middleton had discussed his intentions with his teammates and they fully supported him.
“We’ve had really outstanding exchanges with the entire group,” Maddon said. “We’ve talked about Black Lives Matter. We’ve talked about the flag, the Anthem and what this all means. I presented my opinion to the entire group and asked them to think about it. And in one of our meetings, Keynan did indicate that he wanted to do this. …
“He kind of indicated he was upset he had not done it before. The only thing to read into it is the young man is very passionate about his beliefs. And that’s what he told you tonight. I have a grand daughter that is going through the same thing and I totally support her reaction.
“We always have to understand the reason why people do different things. And I think his intentions are something that we already talked about. He demonstrated against what he perceived to be social injustices. It’s no disrespect to the flag or anything else.”
Around the same time Middleton was kneeling before the Angels game in San Diego, several members of the Giants, including Manager Gabe Kapler, kneeled before the Anthem in Oakland.
— FOX Sports West (@FoxSportsWest) July 21, 2020