Tampa Bay Rays Demand Justice For Breonna Taylor

Whether or not professional sports players and teams should be involved in political and social justice issues has been a matter of controversy in recent years. Friday morning, the Tampa Bay Rays made their position clear, speaking out on social media to call for the arrest of the officers involved in the botched raid that resulted in the death of Breonna Taylor.

Tampa Bay Rays Demand Justice For Breonna Taylor
ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA – JULY 15: Josh Fleming #61, Manuel Margot #13, and Brandon Lowe #8 of the Tampa Bay Rays take a knee during a summer workout at Tropicana Field on July 15, 2020 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

Per the New York Times, here’s a brief summary of the events leading to Breonna Taylor’s death. In March, in the middle of the night, officers with a warrant busted open the door of Breonna Taylor’s home and entered. Responding to what appeared to be a home invasion, her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired a warning shot, hoping to scare off intruders. Police fired back, hitting and killing Taylor. The suspect they were searching for was already in custody.

Since then, the public has called for the arrest of the officers involved, and that call has been amplified by celebrities and well-known activists. At the same time, Donald Trump has warned that professional sports teams shouldn’t use their platform to demonstrate, saying that when he sees someone kneeling, “the game is over.”

The Tampa Bay Rays appear to have decided that standing up for Black lives and justice is worth the censure from the president. Friday morning their official Twitter account announced Opening Day — and called for action.

They didn’t stop there — the Rays went on to share information about their charitable donations to groups fighting for justice and equality, including the local NAACP chapter and the Equal Justice Initiative.

The Rays have gotten some backlash, but they’re not alone in their stance. As NBC Sports reported Thursday night, teams are already indicating their intent to keep speaking up. In Boston, a 254-foot “Black Lives Matter” banner has been erected outside Fenway Park, Giants Manager Gabe Kapler has promised to make efforts to amplify Black voices, and some players have already knelt before or through the National Anthem at these early games.

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