The New York Yankees and Washington Nationals staged a brief tribute to the Black Lives Matter movement in the pregame ceremony on baseball’s opening day. Both teams held a long black ribbon while a BLM video made by the Players Alliance was screened, then stood for the national anthem.
The Players Alliance is a group of current and former black players formed in the wake of the George Floyd death. The video played on the main scoreboard as players from both teams held the black ribbon, which stretched from right field to behind home plate and then down the left field line.
Players then kneeled during a long moment of silence that followed, then stood during the national anthem, which was prerecorded by D.C. Washington.
The Nationals announced Wednesday that a Black Lives Matter/MLB stencil would appear on the mound for their season-opening series against the Yankees. The Nationals’ statement on its BLM stencil said all teams would use the artwork during games this weekend. They also made “Black Lives Matter” t-shirts available for players to wear during warmups.
The political stance continues the move by Major League Baseball to allow its players to address social justice issues. The league said on Wednesday it would allow players to have a jersey patch with BLM or “United For Change” on player uniforms. Several players and one manager have taken a knee during the national anthem in the preseason, but only one MLB player previously took a knee during a regular season game.
Before the game, White Hosue pandemic adviser Anthony S. Fauci threw the ceremonial first pitch to Nationals closer Sean Doolittle. Fauci, wearing a protective mask, bounced his pitch short and well-wide of home plate.
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