A's opt not to play Thursday vs. Rangers

August 27th, 2020

The A’s and Rangers agreed to postpone their game scheduled for Thursday at Globe Life Field in Arlington in an effort to add their voices to the national protest over Sunday's shooting of Jacob Blake by a police officer in Kenosha, Wis.

The decision comes after the A’s had briefly discussed whether to play Wednesday’s game in Texas. With such a short amount of time before game time, Oakland ultimately provided its players the option to sit out if they did not feel comfortable, though all players decided to play. Engaging in heavier discussions on Thursday morning, the A’s were united in their decision to sit out, following suit after three games (Dodgers-Giants, Reds-Brewers, Mariners-Padres) were postponed Wednesday night.

The A’s are rooted in a city with a long history of being at the forefront of the battle against racial injustice. So during a time when systemic racism is dominating the national conversation, the A’s took into account what those in Oakland have fought and continue to fight for when making the decision not to play on Thursday.

"The city that we play in has a long history of fighting for what is right. That’s what we are trying to do here," A’s shortstop Marcus Semien said. "I feel like a lot of our fans will have our backs on this. When they turn on what they think will be an A’s game and it’s not on there, they’ll understand why. Take the light off us for a night and educate yourselves on what is going on in our country and how we can make things better."

A’s players released a statement explaining their decision:

“Social injustice and systemic racism have been part of the fabric of our lives for too long. We have a responsibility to use our platform, to lend our voices for those who are not being heard. We need to continue having uncomfortable conversations and work towards being a unified force for change. These conversations will push the boundaries and enable us to come through the other side with impactful results. All too often we hear about the plight of our fellow man and fail to act. It is long past due that these communities are being heard, seen, understood, and supported. We will not take the field tonight to help raise awareness for these social issues, not just tonight, but for our collective future. This is the first step in our relentless pursuit for meaningful change.”

The Rangers issued this statement:

“We respect the decision by the Oakland A’s players to postpone tonight’s game. We stand with all those who condemn racial injustice and are committed to helping bring about an end to systemic racism.”

On Monday night, A’s pitcher Jesús Luzardo began his postgame interview by speaking out on the shooting.

"My thoughts and prayers go out to Jacob Blake, his family and his close ones for the incident that happened yesterday,” Luzardo said. “I feel that shows that we really need change."

A’s second baseman Tony Kemp has been heavily involved in the fight against racial and social injustice this season, starting “THE +1 EFFECT” campaign and participating in conversations about race hosted by the team. Kemp wore a Black Lives Matter shirt during Wednesday’s game in Texas and was joined by teammate Khris Davis in raising his right fist in the air throughout the rendition of the national anthem on Opening Day.

"These aren’t comfortable conversations that we’re having. This is a serious problem," Kemp said. "Being able to have these uncomfortable conversations is where it starts. Being able to come together as a team and hash out what is going on is important. We go and play baseball to entertain, but there is another part of me that knows we can no longer stay silent. This is at the forefront now.

"By sitting out tonight’s game, I feel like it’s a small building block of what we want to see. These couple of days are historic times in sports. Our kids will look back and ask what we did to help bring awareness to these issues, and we’ll say one game we decided not to play. That will speak volumes. Down the line, we’re going to understand this impact was monumental."

In the aftermath of George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police in May, Kemp said his fall into depression shortly after that tragic event sparked his interest in creating dialogue that can effect change. Feeling down during Wednesday’s game, Kemp was proud to be making a stand along with his teammates on Thursday.

"It’s been a lot to process. I think sometimes fans see players on the field and don’t think they’re going through anything," Kemp said. "It’s been tough. Being in the batting cage yesterday, I was kind of foggy. I wanted to try to forget about it as much as I could. Today, I’m glad we’re making this stance of not taking the field and giving us a chance to regroup and clear our heads. Allow people to see this is bigger than sports."

Thursday’s game will be made up in Texas as part of a doubleheader on Sept. 12, with the first of two seven-inning games beginning at 2:05 p.m. PT.