Aaron Hicks on decision to sit out Monday: 'I just felt like it wasn’t right for me to play that game'

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Alex Smith
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Yankees outfielder Aaron Hicks did not play in Monday’s 3-1 win over the Toronto Blue Jays after a Minnesota police officer shot and killed 20-year-old Daunte Wright on Sunday.

After returning to the lineup Tuesday in the 7-3 loss to the Jays, Hicks spoke to reporters to give his own words on why sitting out of Monday’s game was right for him.

“I just felt like it wasn’t right for me to play that game. It was tough to read that somebody just got murdered,” Hicks said. “He’s a father to his son, and he’s also a son to his mother. So, it’s extremely tough when situations like that happen.

“I was going back and forth, literally, on the drive over to the field. By the time I got to the field, I just knew it wasn’t right for me to play.”

After making the decision to sit out Monday, Hicks was very appreciative of all the support he received from his fellow teammates.

“It was incredible. Just them being able to say they’ve got my back, even if they don’t understand what it’s like and what Black Americans in this country have to deal with sometimes,” Hicks said, “It’s just nice to kind of hear ‘Hey, it’s all good. We’ll take care of this game for you,’ and it’s nice to have that.”

Back in the lineup and hitting fifth on Tuesday, Hicks went 3-for-4, recording his first double of the season.

“I just felt like yesterday wasn’t right and today was the day I wanted to play. I wanted to go out, I wanted to compete, and competing is what gets my mind off it,” Hicks said. “It really was nice to go out there today and have a good game. I just want to keep it going.”

Yankees manager Aaron Boone quickly defended Hicks’ decision on Monday, saying that he cares only about his player and not about what some may say about the veteran deciding not to play.

“I would say that Aaron is hurting in a huge way,” Boone said Monday. “And I think, in a way, felt like it was probably the responsible thing to take himself out in knowing that it was going to be hard for him to be all in mentally in what is a high-stakes, difficult job -- to go out and perform for the New York Yankees.

“I don’t really even give two thoughts to that. My consideration is with Aaron and his well-being and making sure that, as best we can, we support him and try to be there as best we can for him right now.

“This is something in the immediate, this real emotion that he’s feeling. And right now, I’m going to support that.”