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Yankees prospect says Black players need to see organization is “with us and not about the money”

The Yankees have yet to acknowledge the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at San Francisco Giants Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

As teams and players across the league have gone on strike to protest the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, the Yankees, as an organization, have remained silent.

The team played game two of yesterday’s doubleheader against the Braves, as games across the country were cancelled. “I just got the news walking in,” manager Aaron Boone told Brendan Kuty after the game. “We’ve just got … We’ve got to do better. And, you know, I certainly understand the pain that exists out there.”

With no official statement of support from the team, prospect Chris Gittens took to Twitter to express his frustration.

Canaan Smith reiterated that message with a tweet of his own:

A powerful, yet simple message, asking the team to be with them.

Gittens, 26, spent 2019 with the Double-A Trenton Thunder, where he hit 23 home runs with a 164 wRC+. Smith, a 21-year-old outfielder, is the team’s number 22 prospect according to MLB Pipeline.

Individual players on the Yankees have spoken out against police brutality in the past. Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Hicks, for example, took knees during the playing of the national anthem. James Paxton, meanwhile, quickly affirmed that Black Lives Matter and shared a message acknowledging his white privilege after the police killing of George Floyd.

The team, however, has been painfully slow in acknowledging the problem of police brutality and the systemic challenges facing the Black community. They had to release a second statement after police officers in Minnesota killed George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, because the first was so tone deaf.

Now that young players are challenging them to step up, perhaps they finally will.