CHICAGO -- Stick to Baseball. Stick to sports.
That sentiment, or some form of it, inevitably finds its way to professional athletes when said athlete expresses his or her thoughts on issues affecting society. But Tim Anderson -- White Sox shortstop, defending American League batting champion, African American player and dedicated community contributor in the Chicago area through his League of Leaders outreach program -- has never paid attention to the critics.
“At the end of the day, we stand for more than just sports,” said Anderson during a conference call with White Sox beat writers Monday afternoon. “If you remove the sports, as you can see now, then what are we? We're human beings. We stand for more than our job title. ... People are trying to be themselves instead of just being 'the baseball player,' whatever their name is. It's just allowing more people to be themselves.”
Anderson, who turns 27 on June 23, spent part of Major League Baseball’s postponement time due to the coronavirus pandemic in Arizona with his wife, Bria, and two young daughters. He was back in the Southwest Suburbs of Chicago this weekend when protestors took to the streets after George Floyd, an African-American man living near Minneapolis, died on May 25 during an arrest involving police brutality caught on video.
On Sunday afternoon, Anderson made the trip into the city and had photos taken that were posted to his social media. Two photos featured Anderson standing next to spray painted messages of Floyd’s name, while two others featured Anderson near unflattering messages about the police. These messages were not from Anderson, but the photos were his attempt to show the world how people are feeling.
“A lot of the things I post really have a lot of meaning behind it," Anderson said, "and really creating dope art that sticks and capturing the moment and being creative about it.
“It wasn't moreso to bash anybody or talk about anybody. Just because that's what it says, that's not how I feel. And I'm able to speak on how I feel. I don't really allow photos to speak on what it really is. But, it's all love. It's moreso creating and capturing dope moments of history that really sticks with me. We may never witness this again.”
A Tim Anderson YouTube channel was created during Spring Training featuring workout moments in Arizona with the shortstop and his White Sox teammates. That channel, with 13,500 subscribers, currently has no content as Anderson follows a different direction.
“It’s bigger than baseball,” Anderson said. “So, kind of why I want to change my angle. Just trying to stay in the positive lane on both sides of things. Literally trying to understand every situation of what really is going on.”
White Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito posted a message of support and inspiration on Twitter Saturday with the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter. Anderson called Giolito “bold” to speak out and acknowledged the love felt from his teammate, one who he frequently talks with about issues outside of baseball, although they have not discussed the current state of the country.
“There are a lot of angry people out there who feel like they are going unheard," Anderson said. "That’s why it’s boiling down the way it is, and things are happening the way they are. We're at a moment where we all just need to come together. We're at a moment where we need everybody's love, regardless of what race. We're at a moment where we need to hold hands, every race, every color, it don't matter.
“We move better as one. It's a tough topic to talk about, but try to be understanding as much as you can. There's a lot of angry people, a lot of broken people that just don't understand a lot of things when things happen a certain way. A lot of things won't be understood. It's a tough moment, and it's kind of hard to explain when you're so wrapped up in tough moments.”