MLB Star Joey Votto Explains Why He Was 'Complicit' in George Floyd's Death

Dan Mennella
June 08, 2020 - 11:28 am

Cincinnati Reds slugger Joey Votto says he has had an "awakening" about social justice in the wake of the George Floyd case.

In an emotional opinion piece published in the Cincinnati Enquirer on Sunday, Votto details a disagreement with a black teammate who had texted him the video of the tragic Floyd incident.

Votto says his initial response was to defend the former police officer now accused of murder, and he didn't even watch the clip. But it all changed when he watched the next day.

"The day after I rejected my teammate’s request to witness George Floyd’s death, I finally opened the video. I wept. I texted my friend back and apologized. He graciously accepted, and then I moved on. I had acknowledged his pain. I had done my part.

"Everything inside of me wants things to go back to normal. I don’t want to protest, raise my voice, or challenge someone. I don’t want to have heated arguments, break up friendships, or challenge previous norms."

The 36-year-old Toronto native, a six-time All-Star and 2010 NL MVP, goes on to say his tacit support for the status quo by being silent is no longer tenable.

"But I hear you now, and so that desire for normalcy is a privilege by which I can no longer abide. That privilege kept me from understanding the 'why' behind Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the national anthem. That privilege allowed me to ignore my black teammates’ grievances about their experiences with law enforcement, being profiled, and discriminated against. And that privilege has made me complicit in the death of George Floyd, as well as the many other injustices that blacks experience in the U.S. and my native Canada."

Votto closed the piece with the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag.