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Oakland A’s release statement supporting black community, amid nationwide protests over police brutality

The team pledges to donate $100,000 to local organizations that support the black community.

Members of the Oakland Unified School District honor band kneel while playing the national anthem before the start of the Oakland Athletics game on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016, in Oakland, Calif. (Aric Crabb/Bay Area News Group)
Members of the Oakland Unified School District honor band kneel while playing the national anthem before the start of the Athletics game on Sept. 20, 2016.
Photo by MediaNews Group/Bay Area News via Getty Images

All around the United States this weekend, protesters took to the streets to speak out against police brutality toward black citizens.

The protests were sparked by the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis officer on May 25.

On Sunday afternoon, the Oakland A’s made the following statement on Twitter:

We are heartbroken and saddened by the inequities that persist in this country and the impact felt in our community. We stand in solidarity with the Black community in Oakland and beyond against racism and injustice. We will continue to support local organizations by donating $100,000 today to the Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce, Oakland NAACP, and 100 Black Men of the Bay Area, who work tirelessly to serve the needs of the Black community.

The protests, which have escalated into riots involving violence and looting in some areas of the country (including in Oakland), come after years of more peaceful demonstrations on the topic. Those peaceful protests prominently overlapped with the sports world in 2016, when San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling before the pregame national anthem in a silent statement to raise awareness on the issue of the police’s treatment of African Americans.

The next year, that peaceful protest came to the Oakland Coliseum. On Sept. 23, 2017, A’s catcher Bruce Maxwell followed Kaepernick’s lead by kneeling for the anthem before that day’s game, with teammate Mark Canha standing next to him in solidarity with his hand on Maxwell’s shoulder. At that time, the team also showed its support for Maxwell’s protest, saying: “The Oakland A’s pride ourselves on being inclusive. We respect and support all of our players’ constitutional rights and freedom of expression.” Major League Baseball released a similar statement that day, supporting Maxwell’s freedom to express himself, in sharp contrast to the NFL’s later attempt to ban the practice at their own games.

Two days after Maxwell’s initial protest, on Sept. 25, the Oakland Unified School District honor band played the national anthem before the A’s game, and the whole band took a knee before they began playing. That was the second time the OUSD band took a knee while playing the anthem before an A’s game at the Coliseum, after having done so in Sept. 2016.

Note: I am disabling the comments for this post. The purpose is to share the message sent by the A’s as well as the background on their past stances on the matter, not to spark a political debate on this baseball site. Let’s have those discussions in real life with the people around us.