Jones: "We already have two strikes against us already, so you might as well not kick yourself out of the game. In football, you can't kick them out. You need those players. In baseball, they don't need us."
It's a dubious explanation, as it implies that white people are not interested in justice for everyone. And it also implies that any player who protests would be released by his team and then shunned by the other 29 teams. I find that very hard to believe. (Also, the way MLB calculates how many African-American players are on major league rosters is extremely problematic. It does not count, for example, someone like David Ortiz, because he was not born in the U.S. (though he very clearly is a dark-skinned man).)
It would be a little trickier for a baseball player to protest the anthem. A visiting player could remain in the clubhouse or sit on the bench during the anthem, but the home team takes the field and those players stand at their respective positions during the anthem. A baseball player would either have to leave his position empty and stay in the dugout until after the anthem or perhaps he could kneel, as various football players have done.
Jones - who was honored last week with the Roberto Clemente award for his community involvement and philanthropy - had some insightful comments about the NFL protests, which began with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick on August 26.
He believes in what he believes in, and as a man of faith, as an American who has rights, who am I to say he's wrong? Kaepernick is not disrespecting the military. ... What he's doing is showing that he doesn't like the social injustice that the flag represents. Look, I know a lot of people who don't even know the words to the national anthem. You know how many times I see people stand up for the national anthem and not pay attention. They stand because they're told to stand. ...On Monday night, before the Orioles began a three-game series in Boston, Jones added:
[T]here's somebody on the 49ers' team that commits an act like that [Bruce Miller was arrested last week and charged with aggravated assault, elder abuse, threats and battery against 70-year-old man and his 29-year-old son, and was released by the 49ers], and nobody's talking about that. But they talk about Kaepernick doing something that he believes in, as his right as an American citizen. People need to talk more about that guy than Kaepernick. He's not receiving the ridicule and public torture that Kaepernick is facing. Is Kaepernick hurting me? No. Is he hurting random people out there? No. I support his decision. At the end of the day, if you don't respect his freedoms, then why the hell are we Americans? It's supposed to be the Land of the Free, right? ...
I've seen Kaepernick called the N-word just because he's being sensitive to what has happened to African-Americans in this country. It's crazy how when people of color speak up, we're always ridiculed. But when people that are not of color speak up, it's their right. The First Amendment says we have freedom of expression. We're supposed to be so free, so free. But any time anybody of color speaks up in the United States, for some odd reason, they always get the raw end of the deal. ...
The outside world doesn't really respect athletes unless they talk about what they want them to talk about. Society doesn't think we deserve the right to have an opinion on social issues. We make a lot of money, so we just have to talk baseball, talk football. But most athletes, especially if you're tenured in your sport, you're educated on life, and on more things than most people on the outside. But because Donald Trump is a billionaire, he can say whatever he wants, because he's older and has more money? And when Kaepernick does something, or says something, he's ridiculed. Why is that?
Society doesn't mind us helping out the 'hood and inner cities. But they have a problem when we speak about the hood and inner cities. I don't understand it. ...
There's going to be backlash, of course there is, because people don't like the truth.