Active MLB players involved in The Players Alliance, a non-profit organization founded by more than 100 Black current and former professional baseball players on Opening Day 2020, will be donating their earnings from Aug. 27 and 28.
On Aug. 27, at least five MLB games have been called off: Boston Red Sox-Toronto Blue Jays, Minnesota Twins-Detroit Tigers, Philadelphia Phillies-Washington Nationals, Oakland A’s-Texas Rangers and Baltimore Orioles-Tampa Bay Rays. Aug 28. is the postponed season’s Jackie Robinson Day, which is usually celebrated on April 15.
“The color of our skin is the uniform we wear every day. We cannot change that. What we can change is the pain and injustice the Black community has suffered for far too long,” the group said in a statement posted on Instagram. “We are determined to use our platform to speak out, and encourage our teammates and fans to help make our voices even louder.”
The money will go back to the Alliance to help support “efforts to combat racial inequality” and aid the Black families and communities “affected in the wake of recent events.”
The Players Alliance was announced on July 23 and is led by Curtis Granderson, CC Sabathia and Edwin Jackson. Its mission is to work to create an inclusive culture within baseball and provide greater opportunities for the Black community – in and out of baseball.
Less than 8% of MLB players who were on Opening Day rosters this year — 80 players total — were Black, according to USA Today.
Among the group’s active player members are Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Andrew McCutchen, Cameron Maybin, David Price, Dee Gordon, Dexter Fowler, Matt Kemp, Giancarlo Stanton, Jackie Bradley Jr., Jason Heyward, Mookie Betts and Tim Anderson.
In response to the Alliance’s announcement, Houston Astros Special Assistant to the GM Kevin Goldstein tweeted that he also would donate his pay from Jackie Robinson Day, and invited “all who work in baseball” to do the same.
The Alliance members’ commitment comes amid a reckoning in professional sports with social justice causes, and specifically, instances of police brutality. Following the Milwaukee Bucks’ decision to sit out their Game 5 playoff against the Orlando Magic Aug. 26 in protest of the police shooting of Jacob Blake, two MLB games were called off by players, while others saw individuals decide to sit out independent of their teams.
Heyward, Fowler and Kemp opted not to play on Aug. 26 as their respective clubs went on as scheduled, leading many to question why the teams did not follow their Black players’ leads. Heyward and Fowler are both members of The Players Alliance’s active player advisory board.