MLB, players react to George Floyd verdict

April 21st, 2021
The Twins posted a sign at Target Field in support of George Floyd. This Associated Press photo is from April 8.

The emotions surrounding the conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on three counts of murder in the death of George Floyd could be felt throughout the country and across America’s national pastime.

Through social media, baseball players and team personnel have been open about their opposition to racism, police brutality and unequal treatment by law enforcement since Floyd’s death last May. After the guilty verdict Tuesday, those in the game made their thoughts known.

The Players Alliance, a nonprofit organization founded by a group of active and former MLB players with the goal of improving representations of Black Americans in baseball, issued a powerful statement:

“We stand in support of today’s decision to convict Derek Chauvin of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges for the killing of George Floyd.

“While today’s verdict doesn’t begin to approach true justice, it’s a step in the right direction towards course-correcting the disproportionate police violence against Black Americans.

“George Floyd’s murder was the spark that lit the fire under millions of people of all races, creeds, and nationalities from around the world who raised their voices against police violence and the racial injustices that exist in this country. That spark led to the creation of The Players Alliance, allowing our players a platform to do the same.

“Together, we can continue to stoke these flames to fight for equal treatment and opportunities. If we neglect to turn these emotions into productive action, these tragic moments in history are destined to be repeated.

“George Floyd was a human. A son. A father. A brother. A friend. He deserved better; he deserved to live. Our heartfelt condolences go out to the Floyd family during this devastating time. George Floyd did not die in vain.

“Our promise is to ensure his legacy lives on in our commitment to never stop using our voice, resources, and unrelenting resolve to create meaningful, lasting change, both in our game and across our nation.”

Major League Baseball issued the following statement:

From Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Tony Clark:

Astros manager Dusty Baker expressed his thoughts during his pregame session with reporters: “It’s never a time to celebrate when someone is killed. My thoughts and prayers go to the Floyd family. Maybe this will help us heal and we’ll cease with the violence. I’m just hoping that this sends us in a positive direction.”

White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson said his team was playing close attention to the trial.

"Definitely. We all know the results, so it's definitely a positive moving forward,” said Anderson. “And that's pretty much all I can say about it. I was happy with the decision. Now we can keep moving, keep trying to find that positive lane."

Blue Jays second baseman Marcus Semien was following the trial and said he didn’t find out about the jury’s decision until he was on the field readying for Tuesday's game.

“I was with a couple of teammates just waiting to see if the verdict came out before we had batting practice,“ said Semien. “We had batting practice, then I asked Ross [Atkins], our GM, if he had heard anything because he was standing in the dugout. He let me know what the verdict was and that’s how I found out right before I hit batting practice.

“A lot of us were paying attention. Yes, we have a ballgame to play, but this is bigger picture and something that’s very important in this country. I see a lot of relief from people, but I also still feel for George Floyd and his family. There’s still a life lost. I think that it’s a big step in the right direction.”

NBA legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson, who is part of the Dodgers’ ownership group, voiced his feelings:

NBA great LeBron James, who recently joined the Red Sox's ownership grouped, tweeted:

The Oakland A’s tweeted a statement:

The Los Angeles Dodgers tweeted a statement:

The New York Mets tweeted a statement:

The Cleveland Indians tweeted a statement:

Others such as Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who is part owner of the Royals, and Twins outfielder Byron Buxton didn’t say a word, but still spoke volumes:

Like Mahomes and Buxton, Cardinals pitcher Jake Flaherty also tweeted something simple, but he appeared on High Heat the next day to discuss the verdict.