Dodgers manager Dave Roberts inspired by Jeremy Lin to speak out against anti-Asian racism.
- MLB manager Dave Roberts sent a mass email to employees condemning racism against Asians.
- Roberts cited Chinese American NBA player Jeremy Lin's recent stance on racism as inspiration.
- Roberts' mother is Japanese and his father is Black.
Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts sent a mass email to the organization's employees condemning racism against Asians, according to Dennis Lin and Pedro Moura of The Athletic.
Roberts addressed the recent uptick in hate crimes against Asian Americans and the Pacific Islander community over the past year. The COVID-19 pandemic's roots in Wuhan, China, have spurred a generational disdain for Asians in several countries, but America in particular. Roberts felt obligated to ensure his co-workers that the organization has put its support behind combating that prejudice.
"To blame Asian Americans at all for the global pandemic is just plain wrong," Roberts wrote, as reported by Lin and Moura.
"I am thankful that Major League Baseball has issued a statement condemning the recent crimes. I am also proud that the Dodgers organization, with its forward-thinking ways, has transformed its work environment by establishing better ways for all employees to be heard, and as a result, I write this letter today. After speaking with Dodger leadership, the entire organization fully supports this view."
Roberts said that the decision to send the email was inspired by recent activism from Chinese American NBA player Jeremy Lin. Lin issued a public statement condemning racism against Asians and even revealed that he had been called "coronavirus" by opposing players via his Instagram on February 26.
Like Lin, Roberts is of Asian descent himself. Roberts was born in Okinawa, Japan as the son of a local woman and a United States marine, according to Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports. He became the Dodgers' first manager of color when he was hired after the 2015 season.
"I have just come to a peace about speaking out about things that I believe are right," Roberts told Lin and Moura. "And this particular situation towards Asians, Asian Americans, is something that obviously affects me personally, having a mother from Okinawa, Japan. Seeing what's going on in our country, I just felt that I wanted to internally put something together for our organization, showing my support toward Asian Americans in our organization and acknowledge what's going in our country and around the world that I just don't believe is right."
According to Brown, Roberts reportedly did not discuss race with his parents as a child, but that hasn't stopped him from taking a front seat on several racial issues over the past year, relating to both Blacks and Asians.
The shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, ignited anti-racism protests against police brutality against the Black community. Roberts was at the center of the activist demonstrations in sports for that incident too.
The Dodgers were originally scheduled to play a game against the rival San Francisco Giants during the protests on August 26. However, the game was canceled as part of the sports-wide demonstration to keep the country's focus on race and police brutality issues.
"Black people been fighting this fight for centuries," Roberts said during a virtual press conference on August 26. "For the white brothers to come in and support the Black men in this game, it's much more powerful."
"This is a human being issue. We all need to be treated the same way. A Black man being shot seven times in the back, we need to be better. That just can't happen."
The recent email also wasn't even the first time Roberts had to take a stance against anti-Asian racism either. In the 2017 World Series, when the Dodgers faced the Houston Astros, Astros infielder Yuli Gurriel made a racist gesture against Dodgers pitcher Yu Darvish, who shares a Japanese heritage with Roberts.
When it was announced that Gurriel would suffer a five-game suspension the following season for the gesture, Roberts threw his support behind Major League Baseball's disciplinary actions during a press conference.
Roberts has a place in history as the first manager of color in an organization rooted in the history of promoting racial justice.
The Dodgers famously helped pave the way for the integration of Black players into Major League Baseball by signing Jackie Robinson in 1947. Roberts is a new pioneer in the history that Robinson forged decades ago, but Roberts has now taken it a step further by lending his voice in support to the Asian community in America as well.
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