Saturday, May 28, 2022

Stepping up to the plate

Two forceful and anguished statements in the wake of yet another mass shooting indicate that the stereotypical image of the American professional baseball player is seriously out of date or simply wrong. First, Nationals pitcher Sean Doolittle:
It just feels like we’ve reached a point where if not now, when? We should have done something after Sandy Hook; we should have done something after Vegas; we should have done something after Pittsburgh; I mean, you can go down the list. We should have done something after Virginia Tech. How far back do you want to go? And then the conversation inevitably always changes to mental health or bulletproof backpacks. We’re talking about ballistic blankets. We’re talking about renovating schools so there is only one entrance and one exit. We’re talking about arming teachers.

You’re describing a prison, and you’re bargaining and negotiating with people’s lives instead of just addressing the common denominator in every single one of these issues. It’s really frustrating, and I would like to think that in this country we’re capable of some common-sense reforms that a majority of Americans support that don’t infringe on your Second Amendment rights ... Who am I? I’m on the injured list. I’m a middle reliever on a team that unfortunately is in last place right now ... But we’re still members of societies and our communities, and there are people who look up to us as athletes, who listen to what we have to say as athletes.

And I think if you could start some of these conversations, or you can participate in some of these conversations and maybe get people to listen or put pressure on elected officials to do something, the reality is that you have a little bit more sway than the average person. And when it comes to making changes in your community, you can help move the needle on any number of issues that are important to you.

Perhaps even more remarkably, San Francisco Giants manager (and former player) Gabe Kapler, on why he won't be coming out of the dugout during the playing of the national anthem:
I’m often struck before our games by the lack of delivery of the promise of what our national anthem represents ... We stand in honor of a country where we elect representatives to serve us, to thoughtfully consider and enact legislation that protects the interests of all the people in this country and to move this country forward towards the vision of the "shining city on the hill." But instead, we thoughtlessly link our moment of silence and grief with the equally thoughtless display of celebration for a country that refuses to take up the concept of controlling the sale of weapons used nearly exclusively for the mass slaughter of human beings.

We have our moment (over and over), and then we move on without demanding real change from the people we empower to make these changes. We stand, we bow our heads, and the people in power leave on recess, celebrating their own patriotism at every turn.


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