Two days after kneeling for a racial unity demonstration then standing for the national anthem on opening day, New York Yankees outfielders Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Hicks took a knee during the anthem before their second game of the season on Saturday.
The pair appeared to be the only players to do so as the song was played.
Both Stanton and Hicks are taking a knee during the Anthem. pic.twitter.com/gPLiDguxhj
— Marly Rivera (@MarlyRiveraESPN) July 25, 2020
The outfielders join a varying group of players to take a knee in the first official MLB games since the killing of George Floyd in May. Several players on the Chicago White Sox and San Francisco Giants as well as other players like Los Angeles Dodgers star Mookie Betts took a knee during the anthem on opening day.
The entire Yankees team had stood for the anthem on Thursday, kneeling instead for a ceremony involving a moment of silence and a lengthy black ribbon held by members of both teams. Apparently, Stanton and Hicks wanted to maintain the message as the season continued.
Today, and every day, we come together as brothers. As equals, all with the same goal - to level the playing field. To change the injustices. Equality is not just a word. It’s our right!
Today we stand as men from 25 nations on 6 continents.
Today, we are one. pic.twitter.com/vKUGdRfwgQ
— MLB (@MLB) July 23, 2020
Yankees players have been outspoken on Black Lives Matter
Both Stanton and Hicks had spoken out in the aftermath of Floyd’s death on social media. They also both took part in a Black Lives Matter video featuring several Black MLB players, alongside teammate Aaron Judge and former Yankee CC Sabathia.
When asked about the protest after the game, a 9-2 Yankees loss, Stanton recalled the story of Rodney King.
Growing up in LA, Stanton's route home passed where Rodney King was beaten. Reason for taking a knee is about “basic human rights…for us all to have a fair shake. There’s a lot of things in the system that could be could be changed and it’s just a way to bring light to that.''
— Pete Caldera (@pcaldera) July 26, 2020
Yankees manager Aaron Boone told reporters he was “totally supportive” of his players kneeling. Hicks explained that his protest was spurred by what he’s seen over the course of his life.
Hicks on why: "Because I’m a black man living in America. I should be judged by my character not by my skin tone. And growing up, that’s kinda what’s happened. It felt right to do. It’s kinda hard thing to talk about especially when it’s my life."
— James Wagner (@ByJamesWagner) July 26, 2020
Hicks also reportedly declined comment on President Donald Trump saying he would throw the first pitch at a Yankees game sometime this season. Stanton said he wasn’t sure it would even happen, and declined comment on the idea.
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