In a wide-ranging interview with USA Today's Bob Nightengale published Monday, Adam Jones offered his explanation for why we haven't seen any MLB players protesting the national anthem in the fashion of Colin Kaepernick and others in the NFL.
"Baseball is a white man’s sport," Jones said.
As Nightengale points out, the demographics of each league bear this out. African-Americans make up 68% of the NFL, 74% of the NBA, and only 8% of the MLB. So far, each of the 14 NFL players who have expressed public solidarity with Kaepernick are black.
Jones went on at length on a number of issues, but perhaps the most pertinent passage is when the Orioles outfielder rightly highlights the hypocrisy of the quantity of outrage directed at black players versus white players:
“I’ve seen Kaepernick called the N-word,’’ Jones said, “just because he’s being sensitive to what has happened to African-Americans in this country. It’s crazy how when people of color speak up, we’re always ridiculed. But when people that are not of color speak up, it’s their right.
“The First Amendment says we have freedom of expression. We’re supposed to be so free, so free. But any time anybody of color speaks up in the United States, for some odd reason, they always get the raw end of the deal. It sucks.
“At the end of the day, black men have fought for this right. Indians have fought for this right. White people fought for this right. Mexicans have fought for this right. Japanese have fought this for this right. The United States was not just made up of one race.
“So let’s just not say that in America, only one person can say something. We all have input because America has always been a country that has united everybody.’’
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Jones added that he didn't understand those who criticized Kaepernick's protest without thinking critically about what the quarterback was attempting to say.
"You know how many times I see people stand up for the national anthem and not pay attention," Jones said. "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.’’
The entire interview can be read here.
Michael Rosen is a reporter for Fusion based out of Oakland.