Yankees, Nationals teams kneel before national anthem

Two teams continued the MLB's efforts to show solidarity with those affected by racism and reckless policing through a powerful Black Lives Matter demonstration

The New York Yankees kneel during a moment of silence prior to the game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on July 23, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

The Yankees and Nationals took a knee holding a black cloth, which stretched down the third baseline, around the home plate, and up the first baseline. 

The teams took part in this demonstration as an effort to show solidarity while adhering to social distancing guidelines.

READ MORE: MLB players taking visible stance on social justice

All four teams playing in the first two games of the 2020 Major League Baseball season took part in this uniform action. 

As they knelt at the National’s Stadium in Washington, D.C., a video created by the Players Alliance played for an empty audience. Fans were not allowed to enjoy the game in person due to COVID-19 restrictions and precautions. 

The Players Alliance is a nonprofit organization created by a collective of current and former Black MLB players.

This organization was recently formed following the police killing of Geroge Floyd because the players felt “voiceless in expressing social issues regarding their culture as the stark minority in our game.”

The message of the video challenged MLB fans to go beyond supporting Black baseball players on the field by acknowledging the unique issues that they face as Black men in this country. They used them to support the Black Lives Matter movement.

Once the video concluded the teams took part in a brief moment of silence. Afterward, they, the players and the coaches, stood for the national anthem.

READ MORE: New York Yankees player, Aroldis Chapman, has COVID-19

According to USA Today, the concept for this demonstration was discussed between the MLB Players’ Association and MLB. Then final details were worked out between the teams in a meeting a week before Thursday’s game. 

“It was emotional. I thought it was powerful. It was important for us and for the Yankees that everybody bought in… to show support for the movement about Black Lives Matter and ending police brutality and racism and injustice,” said Nationals pitcher, Sean Doolittle, after the game.  

According to The New York Times, this demonstration was a “notable” moment for Major League Baseball because the MLB has been “slow to address social issues publicly”.

Have you subscribed to theGrio’s new podcast “Dear Culture”? Download our newest episodes now!