Colorado Rockies outfielder Ian Desmond has decided to opt out of the coronavirus pandemic-shortened 2020 season when baseball returns.
Desmond penned a heartfelt message Monday explaining why he won’t be participating.
In a nine-page statement posted on Instagram, Desmond explained that part of the reason why he’s not playing is because of the disparity with black players and coaches in the league.
He revealed that he rather spend time with his family because he’s considered to be at high risk to get the coronavirus.
“America’s pastime is failing to do what it could, just like the country it entertains. Think about it: right now baseball we’ve got a labor war. We’ve got rampant individualism on the field. In the clubhouses, we’ve got racist, sexist, homophobic jokes or flat-out problems.
“We’ve got cheating. We’ve got minority issue(s) from the top down. One African American GM. Two African American managers. Less than 8% Black players. No Black majority team owners,” Desmond wrote.
“Perhaps most disheartening of all is a puzzling lack of focus on understanding how to change those numbers. A lack of focus on making baseball accessible and possible for all kids, not just those who are privileged enough to afford it.
“If baseball is America’s pastime, maybe it’s never been a more fitting one than now.”
Desmond also shared experiences from his youth and growing up playing baseball. He wrote that the pandemic would force him to skip the 2020 season.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has made this baseball season one that is a risk I am not comfortable taking. But that doesn’t mean I’m leaving baseball behind for the year. I’ll be right here, at my old Little League, and Im working with everyone involved to make sure we get Sarasota Youth Baseball back on track. It’s what I can do, in the scheme of so much. So, I am.
“With a pregnant wife and four young children, who have lots of questions about what’s going on in the world, home is where I need to be right now. Home for my wife, Chelsey. Home to help. Home to guide. Home to answer my older three boys’ questions about Coronavirus and Civil Rights and Life. Home to be their dad.”
Desmond is a two-time All-Star and three-time Silver Slugger. He was about to enter his 12th season in the bigs and his fourth with the Rockies.
Other players opting out are Arizona Diamondbacks’ Mike Leake and the Washington Nationals’ Ryan Zimmerman and Joe Ross.