As the sports world went on pause Wednesday evening, the Detroit Tigers took the field.
Spurred by Sunday’s police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Bucks decided to protest by not taking the floor for their playoff game against the Orlando Bucks. The NBA followed by postponing Wednesday’s planned slate of playoff games, as did the WNBA after players decided to strike. Three MLB games were postponed when players decided against playing.
The Tigers discussed the possibility of not taking the field against the Chicago Cubs that night, but ultimately played the game.
General manager Al Avila weighed in on the sports protests Thursday afternoon, stating he’s a fan of any form of protest that doesn’t involve violence.
“You gotta figure that as an athlete, we all have to make a stand in however we feel we best make our statement,” Avila said. “If our athletes feel that’s the best place to make their statement, that’s the way they want to do it, then that’s fine and we’ll support it. Everyone has to make their decision on how to combat racism or any injustice, to tell you the truth.”
Later, the Tigers and Minnesota Twins voted not to play Thursday night’s game, with the game now scheduled as part of a seven-inning doubleheader Friday.
Avila spoke before the announcement and said at the time he had not heard any plans from the Tigers to protest Thursday’s game, but acknowledged it could be a positive step.
“If an athlete feels this is the way I’m going to make my statement, then we will support that,” he said. “For me, the world needs a lot more love. I would say any kind of protest or meeting, anything that you take away violence is a key for me. Obviously it’s a nonviolent way to make a statement.”
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