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Mets GM pledges donations, says ‘baseball isn’t immune’ to systemic racism

New York Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen spoke out in support of the Black Lives Matter movement following Wednesday night’s MLB draft while also announcing donations to organizations pursuing social justice and raising awareness about systemic racism.

The Mets general manager pledged support to five organizations in his announcement: Campaign Zero, Color of Change, Equal Justice Initiative, Jackie Robinson Foundation and Legal Defense Fund. Van Wagenen previously announced via Twitter Wednesday that he was joining his fellow MLB GMs and front-office heads in making the donations.

The Mets Foundation later shared it will support Van Wagenen’s initiatives by making similar donations to the same organizations.

During a virtual press conference following the draft, Van Wagenen explained how he and fellow front-office execs have been communicating via Zoom about how to unify and make a statement condemning racial injustice.

“We have a systemic racism problem in the country. It affects all of our institutions. Baseball isn’t immune to it,” Van Wagenen said, via Deesha Thosar of the New York Daily News. “The way we discussed it was, we have to have a voice. We can’t sit quietly and watch the pain and suffering that continues to happen throughout our country, watching history repeat itself and not say something with the voices we collectively have.

“That’s where the United for Change comes. We were doing this together, we felt like we could amplify the Black Lives Matter movement because Black lives do matter. We’re in a position both from a voice standpoint but also from a financial standpoint to be able to try to make an impact. This is hopefully a first step of action.” 

Commissioner Rob Manfred conceded in remarks at the start of Wednesday’s draft that Major League Baseball “can do more as an institution” about “systemic racism and inequality,” which he characterized as “devastating problems” afflicting the country and the world.

During coverage of the draft, general managers were seen holding signs bearing the message “Black Lives Matters” as Manfred made his opening comments.