MLB to feature social justice uniform patches and 'Black Lives Matter' mound stencil on opening day

Mike Oz
·2 min read

Taking a cue from the NBA and NFL, Major League Baseball players will have the option to wear patches for social justice causes on their uniforms for opening day. Players will also be able to wear a “Black Lives Matter” t-shirt and wristbands featuring an inverted MLB logo with a black player silhouette.

MLB also offering pitching mound stencil

In addition to the patches, teams will be able to stencil “BLM” or “United for Change” on the back of their pitching mounds.

ESPN’s Howard Bryant reports the players’ patch options include “BLM” and “United for Change.” The push for this is coming from Philadephia Phillies outfielder Andrew McCutchen and the recently retired Curtis Granderson.

MLB has never been the place for athlete activism relative to other sports. But that seems to be changing ahead of its shortened 2020 season, scheduled to begin Thursday night with two games and a full slate on Friday.

In 2017, Bruce Maxwell of the Oakland Athletics was the first player to take a knee during national anthem. No one else in the game followed him, and to this day Maxwell — who now plays in Mexico — says he’s “bitter” about not getting more support from his peers.

Cincinnati Reds players took a knee during the national anthem this week. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Cincinnati Reds players took a knee during the national anthem this week. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Fast forward to 2020 and MLB seems a lot more open-minded toward social justice messages and players’ support of them. This week, we’ve seen members of the San Francisco Giants, Cincinnati Reds and Los Angeles Angels take a knee during the national anthem.

MLB’s official Twitter account even endorsed players taking a knee and had retorts for angry fans in their mentions. This all is happening after Commissioner Rob Manfred said “Black Lives Matter” in an interview before the MLB draft in June and said the league would be pushing for change. Now, those words have moved from the commissioner’s mouth to teams’ pitching mounds.

As the NBA also revs up for its season, players there will have the option to wear a social message on the back of their jerseys. NFL players, meanwhile, can wear social messaging decals on their helmets.

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