JBJ kneels during anthem; O's lock arms

July 25th, 2020

BOSTON -- Amid the backdrop of a Black Lives Matter banner unfurled across the empty bleachers in center field at Fenway Park, the Red Sox and Orioles took part in a powerful pregame ceremony that included veteran Boston center fielder and newly acquired right fielder kneeling during the national anthem Friday night.

Boston coaches Carlos Febles and Tom Goodwin also knelt during the anthem to show their support in matters of social justice.

Bradley alerted manager Ron Roenicke via text on Thursday night of his decision to kneel during the anthem and received full support from the entire organization.

"I felt like it was important for me to be able to do it, and I also thought it was important that I informed not only Ron, but [chief baseball officer] Chaim [Bloom], [president/CEO] Sam Kennedy, my teammates," said Bradley after the Red Sox beat the Orioles, 13-2. "I wanted everybody to know my intentions, that way no one was caught off guard, and that's pretty much how I went about it."

Along the third-base line, all Orioles players stood during the national anthem with arms locked after kneeling during the moment of silence.

"Everybody agreed we were going to do what we did," said Orioles third baseman . "It was an easy decision for everybody, and everybody was on board. I was really happy to support all my teammates."

During batting practice prior to Opening Night at Fenway, players on both teams wore Black Lives Matter T-shirts.

"Obviously I'm here to support it," said Red Sox shortstop . "I understand all that's going on. I think the Red Sox are doing a great job with that."

Following a recorded narration by renowned actor Morgan Freeman that emphasized equality and empathy, players from both teams held a 200-yard black fabric as a sign of unity and then all knelt on one knee for a prolonged moment of silence that preceded the anthem.

"Equality and unity cannot be until there is empathy," Freeman said. "Today and every day, we come together as equals, all with the same goal. To level the playing field, to change the injustices. Equality is not just a word. It's our right. Today we stand as men from 25 nations, on six continents. Today we are one."

Early in Summer Camp, Bradley spoke from the heart about matters of social justice.

"There's a lot of feelings, emotions, hurt, pain that goes along with a lot of things that have been voiced," said Bradley. "It's something that is not going to be so-called 'fixed' overnight. This is something that, it requires change, it has to start with a change of heart."

What was Bradley feeling as he kneeled on Friday?

"I think about a lot of different things," Bradley said. "I think about struggle, a lot of pain that a lot of people have been through. And I just think about the next generation behind me as well. We want things to be better and we want more love. It felt good. It felt like a release to be able to do that."

Orioles outfielder and right-handers , and have both been vocal on social media about racial injustice, and the Orioles released a statement in June quoting James Baldwin in advocating for support for Black Lives Matter.

"Our club, we have met multiple times in big group settings, as well as in small groups, but we've had multiple discussions as a team," said Orioles manager Brandon Hyde. "It's been extremely powerful. I am supporting our players and their rights to individually express themselves in a peaceful way. That's the culture we are trying to build here and that's what has happened these last few months."