MLB to stencil 'Black Lives Matter' on mounds and allow social justice patches on uniform

John Healy
July 22, 2020 - 4:39 pm

Major League Baseball is following the lead of the NBA and NFL when it comes to using its platform to promote social justice.

The Washington Nationals announced on Wednesday that “Black Lives Matter” will be stenciled across the pitcher’s mound across all ballparks opening weekend, beginning with themselves on Thursday night when they open the 2020 season against the New York Yankees.

“The Nationals, in conjunction with Major League Baseball, stand with the Black Lives Matter movement and will utilize the platform and national stage of Opening Day to express support for the fight against systemic racism and injustice,” the franchise said in a statement.

In addition to the “Black Lives Matter” stencil, MLB is also allowing players to wear a patch including a social justice message on their jersey for Opening Day, according to ESPN’s Howard Bryant. The two phrases approved by MLB include “BLM” and “United for Change.”

Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Andrew McCutcheon and former MLB star Curtis Granderson had been working in coordination with the league, per Howard.

According to St. Louis Cardinals ace Jack Flaherty, MLB players were in constant communication with the commissioner’s office to discuss ways to make a league-wide statement.

“It’s great to have the acknowledgement and that’s the kind of place that you’ve got to start at,” he said.

Gerrit Cole, Thursday night’s starter for the Yankees, also commended the move by MLB.

“This country is founded on expressing yourself freely,” he told reporters on Wednesday. “So I think it’s a wonderful thing.”

The NBA was the first league to announce it would allow players to wear social justice messages on their uniforms, as well as paint Black Lives Matter onto the courts they will be playing on in Orlando.

The NFL is also reportedly planning to allow players to wear a social justice message decal on their helmets during the season.

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