More Than 100 MLB Players Donate Salaries To The Players Alliance For Jackie Robinson Day
Updated: Aug 29, 2020
The Players Alliance announced that several MLB players were donating their salaries from the two days of August 27 and 28 to the organization to combat racism and social injustices in honor of Jackie Robinson Day. Among the players who are members of The Players Alliance are Los Angeles Dodgers' Mookie Betts, New York Yankees' Aaron Judge, Philadelphia Phillies' Andrew McCutchen, St. Louis Cardinals' Dexter Fowler and Chicago Cubs' Jason Heyward.
The group says in the statement, "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. We are determined to use our platform to speak out, and encourage our teammates and fans to help make our voices even louder."
According to The Players Alliance website, the organization represents 124 current and former Major League Baseball players with a combined contract value of $3.5 billion. Through The Players Alliance's initiatives, it's already donated nearly $41 million to Black communities. It hosts mentorship programs and donates baseball equipment to those in need. The mission statement of The Alliance is, "To create an inclusive culture within baseball and the community, where differences are leveraged to elevate racial equality and provide greater opportunities for the Black community, both in our game and the places we live in, play in, and care about most."
The announcement of The Players Alliance donation comes just days after players across the sports world sat out of games in protest of police brutality against Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man from Kenosha, Wis. who was shot in the back by police officers and left paralyzed. Starting in the NBA, the Milwaukee Bucks led the charge, creating a united team statement calling out racism and social injustices. Their playoff opponent, the Orlando Magic, sat out in solidarity and the rest of the NBA games scheduled for that day were postponed. MLB joined in the protest, led by the Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds with six other teams who were scheduled to play that day following suit.
The usual Jackie Robinson Day is honored every April 15, the date that the Brooklyn Dodgers star broke the color barrier in 1947. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the baseball season hadn't started yet this year. So the MLB decided to pay tribute to its hero by celebrating his legacy on August 28, the day that Robinson was told by Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey that he was officially on the team. Players across the league wear Robinson's retired No. 42 and each team celebrates the work he did as a baseball player, businessman and civil rights activist.
The MLB has taken special care to acknowledge Black history this year, honoring the centennial of the Negro Leagues and transferring Jackie Robinson Day festivities to digital platforms since fans are not able to attend games.