The first two games of the 2020 season became a sign of solidarity with Black Lives Matter movement as athletes and managers kneeled before the national anthem.
Both the team, Yankees and Washington Nationals held a black cloth surrounding the boundaries of the stadium while in the background a message read by the renowned actor Morgan Freeman was played over the speakers. The players also had a moment of silence and everyone stood up for the national anthem.
Players Alliance produced a video showing around 150 Black MLB players to support the movement and it was shown on the stadium’s massive screen.
This was different than how the NBA and WNBA have been demonstrating over the years. The activities at the opener on Thursday night were noticeable in Major League Baseball, which, as opposed to many of its partners have been reluctant to discuss social problems openly.
— Giancarlo Stanton (@Giancarlo818) June 16, 2020
However, this act faced a backlash from Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s counsel and former New York City mayor, who commented on Twitter that the gesture of kneeling during the Anthem was staged and supporting the movement further aggravates the protestors to attack the civilians and the police officers.
Looking forward to live sports, but any time I witness a player kneeling during the National Anthem, a sign of great disrespect for our Country and our Flag, the game is over for me!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 21, 2020
These comments were answered by Randy Levine, President of the Yankees by stating that gesture of kneeling in misinterpreted by Rudy.
Andrew McCutchen, a former outfielder for the Philadelphia Phillies, came up with the concept for fabric and moment of solidarity at Nationals Stadium, which was operated by the athletes without any input from the M.L.B. The attempts were finalized at the M.L.B. and identical clothes were sent to the fourteen other games that were held on Thursday and Friday.
— gabe kapler (@gabekapler) July 23, 2020
The second opening game of the night was conducted in a similar demonstration by both Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants – except for Sam Coonrod. However, as the anthem was being played Mookie Betts, the Dodgers star, and other giants knelt too.