Rob Manfred says 'Black Lives Matter' in statement before draft, pledges MLB will push for change

Directly before the start of an abbreviated 2020 MLB draft, commissioner Rob Manfred delivered a statement on racial inequality in which he said “Black Lives Matter” and said Major League Baseball would use its platform to actively push for social change.

As Manfred spoke, each MLB general manager or head of baseball operations displayed a sign reading “Black Lives Matter, United for Change” on their remote feeds.

Manfred’s full statement:

For many reasons, these are unprecedented times in our country, and also painful times. We share in the sadness and outrage that has resulted from the national tragedies that include the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and others.

Tonight, I join our 30 club baseball operations officials as they recognize, on behalf of our entire industry, that systemic racism and inequality are devastating problems, that we can each do more to help, that baseball can do more as an institution, that Black Lives Matter and that we are united for change.

This moment is a call to action to acknowledge the ills that exits, to show solidarity with the Black community and its efforts to end racism and injustice. We want to utilize the platform afforded by our game to be not only allies, but active participants in social change.

Manfred is the first major commissioner to make such a statement on national television, though NFL commissioner Roger Goodell made waves when he proclaimed “Black Lives Matter” and admitted his league mishandled past player protests after a public push from NFL stars.

In addition to the statement, all 30 MLB baseball operations heads will reportedly make personal donations to various causes for racial justice and police reform.

MLB had previously released a statement offering condolences to the families of Floyd and other victims and pledging to push for change.

All 30 teams have also released their own statements in the wake of Floyd’s death, with varying results. Meanwhile, several MLB players have been outspoken over the need for change, with many signing a letter from the Players Coalition calling for the end of qualified immunity for police officers.

SECAUCUS, NJ - JUNE 10:  Major League Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred Jr. makes an opening statement about #BlackLivesMatter and Major League Baseball during the 2020 Major League Baseball Draft at MLB Network on Wednesday, June 10, 2020 in Secaucus, New Jersey. (Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
Rob Manfred addressed the death of George Floyd and other immediately before the MLB draft. (Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

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