The Red Sox were one of several teams that decided not to play in order to protest racial injustice. Many who voted to walkout did so in support of Jackie Bradley Jr., who is the only Black player on Boston’s roster. Though as Pillar seemed to confess later on, it wasn’t a decision he and others were completely comfortable with.
Here's what Pillar said Thursday, courtesy of the Boston Herald’s Jason Mastrodonato.
Is it more important that we uplift Jackie because he’s the only one? My answer would be no. I think it’s important that we uplift everyone in this room. Jackie is our only African-American baseball player on this team, but like they mentioned, we do have a coach, we have a trainer, there are teams that have quite a bit more African Americans on their team. But what we did today was 1,000% in support of Jackie Bradley Jr., (of the others), because this is how they felt. We wanted to show them support, that they weren’t in this alone.
When asked to elaborate, Pillar said:
It’s a touchy subject, but I don’t think right now, as a country, we should be necessarily identifying individual groups of people that need to be uplifted. I think the vast majority of us would like to encourage to uplift everyone and support everyone.
While other teams and other leagues banded together to support racial injustice following the shooting of Jacob Blake, Pillar’s comments came across more as a counter argument than a willingness to truly support his teammate or understand the cause.
On Saturday, he attempted to clarify his comments.
Kevin Pillar issues an apology
In a video posted to Twitter, Pillar apologized for his choice of words and his failure to use his platform provided to speak up about injustices taking place.
Here are Pillar’s full comments:
After having some time to reflect, I’d like to take this opportunity to better explain what I did a terrible job of expressing to the media the other day regarding our team’s decision to not play, not only to support Jackie and his decision, but because of the re-occurring senseless acts of police brutality of black people in this country.
I was speaking on behalf of my experiences especially growing up around baseball and in sports in general.
I don't view the world how the world views it, and that's ignorant of me. My point I was trying to make is we have a responsibility as human beings to uplift each other (and) make each other better every single day. We as individuals need to take responsibility for what is going on across the country and make it stop by continuing to educate each other (and) love each other.
Black lives do matter to me. Always have, and always will.
This is not the first time Pillar has been involved in controversy. In 2017, he was suspended two games for shouting a gay slur at an opposing player while with the Toronto Blue Jays.
The 31-year-old veteran might have a short stay in Boston. He joined the team in free agency during the offseason and is rumored to be available ahead of Monday’s trade deadline.
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