Baltimore Orioles’ center fielder Adam Jones is a very outspoken individual and is not afraid to let people know what he is thinking or how he feels. He made that known today in an interview with USA Today’s Bob Nightengale where he spoke about how he felt black people were viewed in Major League Baseball and tapping into why they can’t do the kind of protests that NFL players are currently doing.
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. Baseball is a white man’s sport.
Jones has since said that the title “white man’s game” was a little much but does not regret the message behind it.
Jones said the title “white man’s game” was a little much. But he pointed out he’s among just 8% of African Americans in MLB.
— Brittany Ghiroli (@Britt_Ghiroli) September 12, 2016
Jones: says he has no regrets for USA Today article. Liked the way it was done and thought it was a good conversation
— Brittany Ghiroli (@Britt_Ghiroli) September 12, 2016
What Jones is mainly referring to here is the percentage of black players by league. 68% of the NFL is black while around 74% of the NBA is black. As for Major League Baseball, it is only 8%. That is very disheartening considering that baseball was the sport that saw the color barrier be broken in sports with Jackie Robinson joining the league in 1947. Robinson wrote in his autobiography that he could not even sing or stand for the National Anthem.
The reference here, being made by Jones, is that he feels that Major League Baseball would look more harshly on black players that decide to protest because they make up such a small majority of the players compared to football where they are the majority.
Jones was later asked about Colin Kaepernick, the 49ers quarterback who started this discussion when he decided to sit and kneel for the National Anthem in two preseason games.
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. 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.
This is something that I have believed from the very beginning and Jones echoes it perfectly. As an American citizen, Kaepernick has the right to do what he is doing whether or not people disagree with it.
On top of standing for the National Anthem, Jones had this to say.
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. That’s the problem. Just don’t do something because you’re told to do something. Do it because you understand the meaning behind it and the sacrifice behind it.
Yes, perfect. Jones says here what so many people fail to see. We are just expected to stand for the anthem without even knowing what or why we are standing most of the time. I, personally, stand for the anthem just out of respect but I completely understand why somebody else would not and I respect their choice to do so.
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 could pull almost all of Jones’ quotes from that article but this will be the last one. Everything he says is spoken with true elegance and bravado to where I have even more respect for him now than I even thought I could have.
I am very happy that Jones spoke out on this issue for several reasons. One, I agree with everything he is saying but I recognize that not everyone does. Second, everything he is saying is true.
People will cling to the “white man’s sport” headline and be automatically turned off by anything Jones does from now on. But, if you actually read his words, you will find somebody that genuinely cares for all but recognizes that not everybody has it as well off based on circumstances we cannot control.
This all comes from a man who, year in and year out, is the Orioles’ nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award, an award given to the most charitable players around the league. Jones’ dedication to charity, mostly the Boy’s and Girl’s Clubs of America, are amazing because he knows what those kids are going through because he was like them growing up.
Jones has even lived through racism as a Major League player. Back in 2013, a fan threw a banana peel in his general direction in a game in San Francisco.
I want to thank whatever slapdick threw that banana towards my direction in CF in the last inning. Way to show ur class u jackass.
— 10 (@SimplyAJ10) August 11, 2013
Any normal-thinking person would know that is something that is unforgivable on so many levels.
The Orioles, in general, have made me content when they have been thrown into the world of politics over the course of the last two seasons. The other notable occurrence was when Buck Showalter was asked about the black youth in Baltimore following the unrest in the city in April of 2015.
I also wrote about this last year. I must say that I am glad the Orioles seem to have level heads when it comes to these kinds of topics because so many people do not. Lest we forget how Luke Scott viewed President Barack Obama’s birth certificate back in 2010.
I am glad that Jones is speaking his mind about this and I hope other players around the league take notice of the kind of leader he is. As somebody who likes to share their opinions, I know it can be hard to keep thoughts inside that you want to share, especially when you are somebody like Jones who actually has an audience compared to just some 19 year old college blogger who watches a little too much baseball.
I hope that Jones continues to be the (unofficial) leader of the Orioles for years to come because nobody deserves it more.