Yankees and Nationals Kneel in Moment of Silence Before MLB Opener

MLB players honored the Black Lives Matter movement during the season opener Thursday

New York Yankees v. Washington Nationals
Photo: Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty

The New York Yankees and Washington Nationals participated in a moment of silence prior to the MLB’s season opener Thursday, with the players on both teams taking a knee.

While kneeling, the players held a black fabric spanning along the foul lines at Nationals Park in honor of the current Black Lives Matter movement and the ongoing protests across the country.

A video clip that played during the ceremony also touched on racial inequality, featuring players, including Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge and Nationals second baseman Howie Kendrick. Actor Morgan Freeman also spoke in the video, which played on the jumbotron.

"Equality and unity cannot be until there is empathy," Freeman said. "Today we stand as men from 25 nations on 6 continents. Today, we are one."

Players wore Black Lives Matter t-shirts during the batting practice prior to the game. The letters “BLM” were also stenciled into the pitchers mound, according to CBS News.

"To have everyone kneel at the same time, it was to give hope to any overall reason you want to do it," Yankees outfielder Giancarlo Stanton told USA Today. "For me, it’s for the racial injustice and Black lives in general. And a lot of other things going on. We all have individual reasons to do so."

"I believe with everything we did beforehand, wearing the Black Lives Matter t-shirts, the patches and the unity ceremony before, that’s what was decided," he added.

New York Yankees v. Washington Nationals
Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty

Players stood during the pre-recorded national anthem at the park, which was empty due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The Yankees won with a score of 4-1, though the game was cut short because of rain.

In another MLB matchup later Thursday night, the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants also kneeled before the game and clutched a similar black cloth. Some players continued to kneel while the national anthem played.

To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:

  • Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org) which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.
  • ColorofChange.org works to make the government more responsive to racial disparities.
  • National Cares Mentoring Movement (caresmentoring.org) provides social and academic support to help Black youth succeed in college and beyond.
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