The Yankees, among the last professional sports teams to publicly comment on the death of George Floyd and the ensuing protests that have swept across the country, finally did on Monday.
“Black lives matter,” read part of the lengthy statement released by the club on its twitter page early Monday afternoon. “The New York Yankees condemn racism, prejudice and injustice in all forms.”
Floyd died while in custody of the Minneapolis police May 25 and since then, particularly in the last 7-10 days as the number of protests and protesters nationwide have swelled, professional sports teams – and many of their athletes – have commented on social media.
Until Monday, the Yankees’ lone response had been a June 2 twitter post with a quote by Nelson Mandela.
“The New York Yankees have been deeply affected by the senseless tragedies that have befallen our nation, including the killing of George Floyd,” Monday’s statement began. “We feel strongly that the most sincere approach to processing our thoughts should begin with creating space within our own organization that allows for meaningful dialogue to flow. We have taken time to listen to many of our players, staff, and employees, and we intend for this opening-ended discourse to remain a constant as we move forward. These conversations have been impactful, and at times uncomfortable. They have included the thoughts, fears and anger that the subject of racism elicits.”
Behind the scenes in the last week, more than a few team employees had expressed disappointment in the Yankees’ lack of response.
“This organization also recognizes our position as leaders in the community, and we will stand firm in utilizing our platform to nurture and engage our neighbors and community partners to address social, economic and educational disparities,” Monday’s statement continued. “We are an advocate for diversity and inclusion, and we cherish the long-standing and ongoing relationships we’ve built with numerous organizations like the Urban League, which greatly serve communities of color. As we move forward, we are devoted to redoubling and sustaining our effort to ensure our energies are commensurate with their decades of commitment and focus, and serve as an ally to generate support and awareness in today’s world. Those who wear the Yankees uniform span the world with their diversity, and their achievements as a result of a common vision. Their goal is shared success, and their willingness to embrace each other is a light we can draw from. As an organization, we promise to consistently evolve our own practices, be attentive and open to dialogue, and exemplify the change we want to see.”