Reds players kneel during national anthem

July 21st, 2020

CINCINNATI -- When the Reds and Tigers stood on the lines ahead of Tuesday’s exhibition game for their first national anthem since baseball returned to play, four Cincinnati players took to one knee.

Amir Garrett, Joey Votto, Phillip Ervin and Alex Blandino showed their support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

“It’s certainly a contentious subject, but I wrote the op-ed and I wore the shirt because I feel like it’s pretty simply a human rights issue,” Votto said earlier on Tuesday, but not signaling he would kneel at that point. “I think I said those words and started chipping away at taking a stance because things seem unfair. Just aligning my support.”

Votto and Garrett have been vocal about racial issues in the wake of the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers and the deaths of Breonna Taylor (Louisville, Ky.) and Rayshard Brooks (Atlanta) by police, as well as the murder of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia.

In June, Votto wrote an op-ed for the Cincinnati Enquirer and vowed to do better at understanding the experiences of people of color. During a workout earlier this month, he wore a Black Lives Matter shirt on the field.