Ian Desmond calls out MLB for racism as he opts out of 2020 season
The athlete speaks to the league's lack of diversity and decides to work with his 'old Little League' team
Major League Baseball player, Ian Desmond, penned a poignant letter and posted it to his Instagram page yesterday.
He announced that he was opting out of the 2020 season and called out the MLB for their lack of diversity.
“We’ve got rampant individualism on the field. In the clubhouses we’ve got racist, sexist, homophobic jokes or flat-out problems.”
Desmond wrote, “We’ve got cheating. We’ve got a minority issue from the top down. One African American GM. Two African American managers. Less than 8% Black players. No Black majority team owners.”
View this post on Instagram
“If baseball is America’s past time, maybe it’s never been a more fitting one than now.”
The nine-image post ended with the revelation that his wife, Chelsey, is expecting the couple’s fifth child. Desmond noted that “the COVID-19 pandemic has made this baseball season one that is a risk that I am not comfortable taking.”
In the eight images leading up to the announcement, Desmond reflected on his childhood growing up bi-racial in Sarasota, Florida. He noted that he recently visited the baseball diamond of his youth, which has not been maintained. The two-time All-Star wrote about how the sport made him feel, sometimes accepted, and sometimes an outcast.
Desmond wrote that Little League teams can make children feel fulfilled and pledged to work in the field where he fell in love with the game.
“I’ll be right here, at my old Little League,” he wrote, “and I’m working with everyone involved to make sure we get Sarasota Youth Baseball back on track. It’s what I can do, in the scheme of so much. So, I am.”
Commenters on the post were overwhelmingly supportive with fellow MLB players cheering Desmond.
According to ESPN, Desmond is the fourth MLB player to opt-out of the season. Monday, Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Mike Leake and Washington Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman and pitcher Joe Ross announced that they are opting out of the 2020 season amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The 2020 Major League Baseball is set to begin on July 23 with 60 games.
Have you subscribed to theGrio’s new podcast “Dear Culture”? Download our newest episodes now!