Sportress of Blogitude

Aaron Boone: Yankees didn’t discourage Aaron Judge from discussing racial issues

Aaron Boone has strongly denied a report that suggested the New York Yankees have discouraged Aaron Judge from speaking out on issues like systemic racism.

Boone, speaking to reporters, said Thursday, “As far as I know, that’s absolutely false.”

In a report filed Wednesday, Howard Bryant of ESPN writes that the Yankees are “subtly discouraging” Judge from “being publicly vocal on racial issues” as social unrest over racial and social injustice spawn outcry across the globe.

The Yankees, Howard writes, are encouraging Judge to “follow the racially disengaged, politically neutral model of Derek Jeter, another signaling of the price Black players can expect to pay by supporting Black people.”

Boone insists the allegations could not be further from the truth.

“In fact, if anything, we encourage our guys — if they want their voice to be heard on whatever the subject may be — we’re always going to encourage them to speak their mind and their heart,” Boone told reporters on a conference call Thursday, per NJ.com.

Professional sports teams across the spectrum have rallied around the uprising in outrage and protests spawned by the death of George Floyd on May 25 while in Minneapolis police custody, among other recent high-profile incidents of police misconduct.

The Yankees declined to issue a statement about Floyd’s death for nearly two weeks, which led to criticism of the organization over its lengthy silence on the matter. The organization ultimately did release a statement on June 8.

It merits noting, however, that the Yankees were not the only pro sports team — including one that also calls New York home — to receive some blowback over an apparent reticence to publicly address Floyd’s death.

Judge was one of several Yankees who joined several of the biggest names in baseball last month for a Black Lives Matter video which bore the message, “One Team. One Dream.” The video was shared on social media by Yankees star Giancarlo Stanton, among others.

It’s unclear if the report suggesting the Yankees’ alleged gag order on Judge is related to his participation in the video, not to mention other Yankees players, if at all.