Eight days after the killing of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis, the Phillies and star Bryce Harper weighed in separately on the issue of systemic racism in the United States.
In a late-night Instagram post Monday, Harper shared a photo of himself on one knee in front of a black child before a game at Citizens Bank Park last season. He added a 272-word statement that read, in part, “I will never know what it is like to be an African-American man, woman, or child. The one thing I do know is I will always stand with them and for them.”
The Phillies released a statement via their social media channels Tuesday in which they pledged to "stand in solidarity with all who have peacefully protested for change." The team also noted its role in "addressing the systemic failures that have led to this difficult point."
"It is imperative that we join together to overturn discrimination and inequality based on race that tears at our nation's fabric," the statement continued.
The Phillies’ response came one day after commissioner Rob Manfred issued an internal memo to all team employees — but not a public statement — that noted Major League Baseball has “zero tolerance for racism and the racial injustice that, unfortunately, has been and continues to be prevalent in America.”
It wasn’t until Wednesday morning that MLB finally issued a statement, reiterating its “zero tolerance” stance and committing to “engaging our communities to invoke change.”
Phillies left fielder Andrew McCutchenwas among the first MLB players to respond publicly to Floyd’s death. In a May 27 tweet, the former MVP and five-time All-Star wrote, “I feel for #GeorgeFloyd. He should be alive. I don’t want pity. I want change.”