Tim Anderson says taking a knee during the national anthem was ‘definitely an emotional moment’: ‘I am the only Black guy (on the team), so it was only right that I had to show my love, I had to support’
The Chicago White Sox stood along the third-base line before Friday’s season opener against the Minnesota Twins at Guaranteed Rate Field.
A “#Players4BLM” video, which featured several current and former Black baseball players supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and “One team, One dream” playing on the board.
Sox shortstop Tim Anderson was one of the players in the video.
A few minutes later, when the national anthem began, Anderson and teammates Jose Abreu, Luis Robert, Eloy Jimenez and Edwin Encarnacion and coaches Joe McEwing and Daryl Boston took a knee. Starting pitcher Lucas Giolito did likewise in the Sox bullpen.
Manager Rick Renteria and third baseman Yoan Moncada put a hand on Anderson’s shoulders.
“Definitely an emotional moment,” Anderson said Saturday. “I tried not to shed too many tears because we are going through something where the world needs to change. But you know it speaks a lot of the guys that were right there in my corner. I am the only Black guy (on the team), so it was only right that I had to show my love, I had to support.
“For them to be right there beside me, it speaks a lot of them. We are all brothers and we all love each other and it showed. They supported me through it all.”
Anderson said there was a discussion before Friday’s game.
“Abreu came to me and he just said he was in my corner and he was going to support me, he got me,” Anderson said. “Just spreading love when needed. It says a lot to show that much love at a moment like that.”
Some Twins took a knee too.
Robert said it was a “personal decision.”
“I saw my teammates kneel down and (Thursday), I saw that in other games, then I thought it was the right thing to do,” Robert said through an interpreter. “That’s why I did it.”
Renteria and pitcher Jace Fry knelt before the anthem.
“We’re in an evolving time, it’s actually a dramatic time,” Renteria said Friday. “There’s a lot of things going on across the nation, the world, dealing with some of the things going on over here. People think it’s only the last year or so, it’s probably just that it suddenly gets quiet over time and things that go on to a segment of our society, our brothers of color who have had experiences that are not as balanced as you would want. And it finally came to a head.
“Let me repeat this: I know there are a lot of things going on. I can’t speak for everybody, but nobody likes the turmoil and the chaos that occurs, but it’s a part of a process. That dialogue is probably the most important thing that we can have. It’s interesting because you can see people are upset, depending what side you are on, but we have an evolving society and a segment that has felt subtlety — whether it’s subtle or in your face — held back in many ways, and so people now are speaking up. But it’s not just people of color speaking up. It’s a lot of people speaking up.”
Giolito looks at is as an extension of the activism of former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who knelt during the anthem to raise awareness of police brutality and racial injustice.
“Just continuing to keep the conversation going,” Giolito said Friday. “I think us as baseball players, if we have something we believe in, we have something we want to continue to keep in the public eye, then it’s our right to be able to say that, whether it be peaceful protest or conversation. I’m all for that.
“For me, that’s what Kaepernick started years ago. Just continuing to keep that conversation going, I think that’s important. For change to happen, there has to be disruption, disruption from the status quo. That’s what I believe in.”
No one knelt during the anthem before Saturday’s game, but Anderson said the push for change will continue.
“I expressed to the guys whether you kneel or not, you are still my brother,” Anderson said. “We are here to win, to have fun and enjoy the moment. For the guys who knelt, same way. It’s just all love in this locker room.
“We try to be the most understanding from top to bottom and understand what guys are going through and understand certain moments. But each and every one of those guys support my decision.”