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MLB's Ian Desmond, in a powerful post about racism and social injustice, opts out of the 2020 season

June 30, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Major League Baseball player Ian Desmond is opting out of the truncated 2020 season. Coronavirus concerns factored into his decision, but so did the national reckoning with racism -- something Desmond says needs to happen within the league, too.

(CNN)Major League Baseball player Ian Desmond is opting out of the truncated 2020 season.

Coronavirus concerns factored into his decision, but so did the national reckoning with racism -- something Desmond says needs to happen within the league, too.

And in his Instagram essay, he outlined just how much of his life has been touched by racism, from his grade school hosting a meeting for White families to tell them Desmond and his sister would be enrolling, to his high school team chanting "White power" ahead of games and now, in his career in the MLB.

The golden rules of baseball -- don't have fun, don't pimp home runs, don't play with character.

Desmond will still spend the season on a baseball field -- just a Little League diamond in Sarasota, Florida, where he grew up.

He'll work to get the town's youth baseball league "back on track," he said.

"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," he said.

Major League Baseball's rescheduled season will resume on July 23 or 24, league commissioner Rob Manfred said last week.

'To see our youth grow and develop in the knowledge and skills to play baseball is a reward that only one who has been involved with would know.

I know it sounds simple to say, as a Major League Baseball player, that these fields were important in shaping my life.

Two Black kids on the whole team sitting in a stunned silence the white players didn't seem to notice.

These fields are where I learned a game that I've played 1,478 times at the Major League level.

It started when I was 10, 11, 12 years old -- exactly how old Antwuan was (12) when I met him at the Nationals Youth Baseball Academy in D. C. He couldn't read.

I got to experience that because it was a place where baseball could be played by any kid who wanted.

If what Dick Lee knew to be true remains so -- that baseball is about passing on what we've learned to those who come after us in hopes of bettering the future for others -- then it seems to me that America's pastime is failing to do what it could, just like the country it entertains.

Think about it: right now in baseball we've got a labor war.

A lack of focus on making baseball accessible and possible for all kids, not just those who are privileged enough to afford it.

Antwuan was 12 years old when he started going to the Nationals Youth Baseball Academy -- because that's when it started existing in his universe as a resource.

Why does Major League Baseball have to have a specific youth baseball affiliate with RBI?

I won't tell you that I look around at the world today -- baseball or otherwise -- and feel like I have the answers.

And, in a lot of ways, I feel like everything in my life has been about boxes.

Even in baseball.

The golden rules of baseball -- don't have fun, don't pimp home runs, don't play with character.

I'll be right here, at my old Little League, and I'm working with everyone involved to make sure we get Sarasota Youth Baseball back on track.

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