Aaron Judge, and every other Yankee, is free to speak out on whatever topic they choose, Aaron Boone said Thursday.
Boone was responding to a question about a sentence in an in-depth ESPN story from the day before about former A’s catcher Bruce Maxwell, who famously was the only MLB player to take a knee during the National Anthem in the aftermath of Colin Kaepernick of the 49ers doing so the year before.
About halfway through the story, written by Howard Bryant, was a line about Judge and the Yankees, which stated the club was “subtly discouraging their new superstar, Aaron Judge, from being publicly vocal on racial issues, encouraging him to follow the racially disengaged, politically neutral model of Derek Jeter.”
Aaron Boone said: “As far as I know, that’s absolutely false.
"In fact, if anything, we encourage our guys to, if they want their voice to be heard on whatever the subject may be, we're going to always encourage them to speak their mind and their heart,” Boone continued.
The Yankees were one of the last professional sports teams to release a statement after the death of George Floyd, who died while in custody of the Minneapolis police May 25.
“Black lives matter,” read part of the statement released by the club on its twitter page June 8. “The New York Yankees condemn racism, prejudice and injustice in all forms.”
Floyd’s death sparked protests about police brutality and racial injustice across the country and world. Black athletes from all sports have spoken out, and continue speaking out, on those issues. Some of MLB’s biggest Black stars released a video on June 15 supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, a video that included Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Marcus Stroman. “We have talked about that throughout the organization, within our team, within our club, individually with different guys as well,” Boone said. “It is something that I think is a very important conversation and hopefully is a huge conversation in our country right now…a conversation that we hope to advance in and be better for, and hopefully we're having difficult conversations amongst each other all the time.”