Ian Desmond Opts Out of 2020 Season, Calls Out MLB’s Racism in Powerful Essay

"I could no longer keep a lid on what I was feeling," Desmond wrote.

Ian Desmond of the Colorado Rockies poses for a portrait during Photo Day at the Colorado Rockies Spring Training Facility at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick on February 19, 2020 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images)
Ian Desmond of the Colorado Rockies poses for a portrait during Photo Day at the Colorado Rockies Spring Training Facility at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick on February 19, 2020 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images)
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By Bonnie Stiernberg / June 30, 2020 9:53 am

On Monday night, Colorado Rockies outfielder Ian Desmond announced that he will be opting out of the 2020 season, citing coronavirus concerns. But his message did not stop there: Desmond also shared a call for change within Major League Baseball in a lengthy post about race on his Instagram.

Desmond, who will be forfeiting $405,000 in prorated salary by not participating in this year’s season, began by addressing what inspired him to speak out about his experiences as a biracial man in America.

“I could no longer keep a lid on what I was feeling,” he wrote. “The image of officer Derek Chauvin’s knee on the neck of George Floyd, the gruesome murder of a Black man in the street at the hands of a police officer, broke my coping mechanism. Suppressing my emotions became impossible.”

“In clubhouses we’ve got racist, sexist, homophobic jokes or flat-out problems,” he continued. “We’ve got cheating. We’ve got a minority issue from the top down. One African American GM. Two African American managers. Less than 8% Black players. No Black majority team owners. Perhaps most disheartening of all is a puzzling lack of focus on understanding how to change those numbers. A lack of focus on making baseball accessible and possible for all kids, not just those who are privileged enough to afford it. If baseball is America’s pastime, maybe it’s never been a more fitting one than now.”

Desmond concluded by announcing that he’ll be sitting out 2020, writing, “With a pregnant wife and four young children who have lots of questions about what’s going on in the world, home is where I need to be right now. Home for my wife, Chelsey. Home to help. Home to guide. Home to answer my older three boys’ questions about Coronavirus, Civil Rights and life. Home to be their dad.”

The 34-year-old becomes the fourth player to opt out of the season, joining the Nationals’ Ryan Zimmerman and Joe Ross and the Diamondbacks’ Mike Leake. You can read his full statement below.

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On my mind.

A post shared by Ian Desmond (@i_dez20) on

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