Aaron Judge weighs in on athletes kneeling during the anthem
Aaron Judge opened up this week about the expectation that a number of MLB players will kneel during the anthem during the upcoming shortened 2020 season to protest systemic racism and other social justice issues.
It should arguably come as no surprise that the outspoken New York Yankees slugger fully supports players across all professional sports participating in such acts of peaceful protest.
“That’s the beauty of America, is freedom of speech,” Judge said Tuesday after the Yankees completed a workout at Yankee Stadium, per the New York Post. “The freedom to express yourself. We’ve got a special platform being athletes. And being able to speak our mind and speak [to] what’s going on in this world. And some people express it online. Some people express it with words. Some people kneel, do what they need to do.”
The dialogue surrounding MLB players kneeling during the anthem increased this week after San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler and several players kneeled during the national anthem ahead of an exhibition game Monday against the Oakland A’s, much to Donald Trump’s chagrin.
Kapler stated after the exhibition that he kneeled during the anthem to support his players and allow them to “feel safe in speaking up.”
Judge shares Kapler’s view that players should feel emboldened to speak their minds.
“But I think whatever message that we try to give out here is, we want to express unity and that we’re all in this together,” Judge said. “I think that’s the biggest message that we’re going to try to get across from here. We’re all in this together. Try to have those uncomfortable conversations that we need to have. Bring up those uncomfortable talking points. But no matter what happens, we’re in this together.”
A report earlier this month suggested that the Yankees were discouraging Judge from speaking out on issues related to social injustice. Yankees skipper Aaron Boone later denied any truth to the allegations, and Judge’s words this week indicate that no such supposed gag order could in any way be in effect.