Professional sports have a completely different look and feel to them this year, but the one thing that’s felt in every reopened league thus far is unity in the fight for racial justice. Basketball players are taking their press conferences to demand justice for Breonna Taylor, and during Major League Baseball’s opening day, every single player and coach from the New York Yankees and Washington Nationals kneeled in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
On July 23, the teams faced each other in a stadium with no fans, no peanuts, and a set of serious social distancing rules in place, but prior to the national anthem, they took a knee and held onto a long piece of black fabric as one. Players and coaches from the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants did the same during the following game. The pitcher’s mounds had “BLM” etched prominently in the sand and players wore patches on their jerseys that read “Black Lives Matter” and “United For Change.” It’s important to note that the players, with the exception of few during the Dodgers-Giants game, did not kneel during the national anthem, but in the moments before.
Seeing cardboard cut-outs of fans and athletes giving air high-fives will continue to be eerie as the seasons progress, but players using their platforms to amplify the need for equality is important in the fight for racial justice across the country. Check out photos of the powerful moment during baseball’s opening day ahead.