Baltimore Orioles player Adam Jones knows why the MLB has not protested the national anthem like the NFL. The 31-year-old believes the whiteness of professional baseball puts Black players in a bad position for demonstrating because of their small representation.
“We already have two strikes against us already,” Jones told USA Today Sports. “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.”
The newspaper points to statistics that back up Jones.
Black footballers make up 68 percent of NFL players. In the NBA, that number climbs to 74 percent. African-Americans only comprise 8 percent of baseball players in the MLB.
“Baseball is a white man’s sport,” Jones added.
The center fielder’s hesitation to participate in kneeling during the national anthem does not mean he opposes Colin Kaepernick’s protest that began in August.
“Kaepernick is not disrespecting the military,” Jones said of the NFL player. “He’s not disrespecting people who they’re fighting. What he’s doing is showing that he doesn’t like the social injustice that the flag represents.”
Jones also pointed out the difference in ridicule Kaepernick received compared to his San Francisco 49ers teammate Bruce Miller. The team released Miller after he was arrested and charged with aggravated assault, elder abuse, battery and threats against a 70-year-old man and his 29-year-old son.
“Nobody’s talking about that. But they talk about Kaepernick doing something that he believes in,” Jones said. “People need to talk more about [Miller] 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.”
Jones has been an advocate of Black issues himself, regardless of the fact that he rose with his hand over his heart during Sunday’s Orioles game. According to the Baltimore Sun, the team nominated him for the Roberto Clemente Award this year. Additionally, he earned honors as the Marvin Miller Man of the Year and received the Babe Ruth Museum Community Service Award. All were earned thanks to his charity work with African-American youth.
Regardless of his achievements and charity to the Black community, Jones knows most sports fans want athletes to focus on the game only.
“The outside world doesn’t really respect athletes,” Jones told USA Today Sports. “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.”