After a nearly hour-long meeting manager Aaron Boone described as a “powerful conversation,” the Yankees opted not to protest and decided to take the field. But that doesn’t mean the Black Lives Matter movement and racial injustice issues plaguing the country hasn’t deeply impacted them.
It has hit home for Boone, who has two adopted Haitian-born children, Jeanel and Sergot. He couldn’t make it through his pre-game Zoom press conference when asked about the current nature of race relations in the country, breaking down and needing to gather himself for a few minutes before continuing.
“I know I’m talking to a lot of people out there. It’s just been a hard and heavy year, and a heartbreaking year in so many ways,” Boone, wearing a Black Lives Matter t-shirt, said before the Yankees and Mets kicked off a five-game series with a doubleheader in The Bronx. “For my family, too. But I think that’s the case for a lot of people of all different backgrounds and races. My prayer is just that … at the end of the day we’re better for it. That’s my continued prayer.”
Following the shooting of black man Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisc., protests broke out across professional sports, starting with the Bucks on Wednesday. The NBA playoffs were postponed, and so were games in the WNBA, MLS, NHL and MLB. The Mets and Marlins didn’t play on Thursday, a day after African-American outfielder/infielder Dominic Smith broke down during a press conference centered on the topic.
“A lot of the things we’ve seen the last couple of days have been powerful, have been emotional, have been strong, and it’s always good to see people communicate their heart, and we’ve seen a lot of that,” Boone said. “With all that continues to go in our country, there are men and women in my life and a lot of people in our room in there that are really hurting, and this is just a very difficult time for a lot of people. As a result, that affects all of us.”
He is doing more than just talking about the issues, though. Boone is donating his paycheck on Friday – which is also Jackie Robinson Day — to The Players Alliance, joining the group of over 100 black current and former professional players who are donating their game salaries. The money goes to supporting the organization’s efforts to battle racial inequality and aid black families and communities that have been hit hard by recent events.
“It was something that when I saw it, and I saw that the 100 players or so donated today,” he said, “it was something that me and my family wanted to be a part of as well.”