New York Mets General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen agrees with the 29 other MLB teams that the draft this week was the perfect platform for the league to bring awareness to the “systemic racism problem” in the U.S.
Van Wagenen said during a Zoom call Wednesday that each of the franchises’ GMs discussed making a joint commitment to addressing social injustices following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died late last month while in the custody of Minneapolis police.
“We have a systemic racism problem in the country,” Van Wagenen said, according to NorthJersey.com. “It affects all of our institutions. Baseball isn’t immune to it. The way we discussed it was: We have to have a voice. We can’t sit quietly and watch the pain and suffering that continues to happen throughout our country, watching history repeat itself and not say something like we collectively have.”
Commissioner Rob Manfred issued a statement at the start of the draft on Tuesday vowing to use the league’s platform to push for “social change.”
“Tonight, I join our 30 club baseball operations officials as they recognize, on behalf of our entire industry, that systemic racism and inequality are devastating problems, that we can each do more to help, that baseball can do more as an institution, that Black Lives Matter and that we are united for change,” he said according to Yahoo Sports.
“This moment is a call to action to acknowledge the ills that exits, to show solidarity with the black community and its efforts to end racism and injustice. We want to utilize the platform afforded by our game to be not only allies, but active participants in social change.”
Van Wagenen said on Twitter that he intends to donate to several foundations helping the cause.
“We felt like we could amplify the Black Lives Matter message,” he said Wednesday, “because black lives do matter.”