Mookie Betts is one of the most famous faces in baseball. His team, the Boston Red Sox, won the 2018 World Series and on Saturday he accepted the Most Valuable Player award at the 96th annual New York Baseball Writers’ Association of America dinner. However, there is one thing the 26-year-old African-American will not accept — an invitation to the White House.
“I won’t be going there,” Betts told the Boston Globe. “I decided not to.’’
The Red Sox were scheduled to visit the White House next month, but it was rescheduled to May 9 because of Trump’s government shutdown. Third baseman Rafael Devers also said he won’t attend, but claimed his decision wasn’t political. Shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who is Black,and pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez said they were undecided.
Back in December, team President Sam Kennedy revealed the team will go to the White House. However, individual players can decide if they want to go.
“We’ve accepted and we’re going to see if there’s a date that works,” Kennedy said. “Like in the past, it’s an invitation. It’s not a mandatory, command performance. It’s an opportunity for these guys to get the recognition they deserve for a world championship.”
Manager Alex Cora, who is Puerto Rican, said, “I’m going to use my platform the right way. I’m not going there to embarrass anybody.” Now he claims he is still undecided.
Boston has a horrific history when it comes to race and is famously known as one of the most racist cities in America. The Red Sox were the last team to integrate, passionately fighting against desegregation. Furthermore, hate crimes are on the rise in Massachusetts.
The city also has an unreal racial wealth gap. The Boston Globe reported, “A 2015 report found that household median net worth was $247,500 for whites — and just $8 for Blacks.”
In addition, just last year, Baltimore Orioles center fielder Adam Jones had the N-word screamed at him from the stands of Fenway Park, home of the Red Sox, and someone threw a bag of peanuts at him. The Red Sox had to issue an apology.
Therefore, it might not be the best optics to visit Trump’s racist White House. Kudos to Mookie Betts for taking a stand.