Rockies outfielder Ian Desmond, saying heâs not comfortable with the risks involved with the COVID-19 pandemic, and citing the need to be with his young family, announced he will not play major league baseball in 2020.
In a long, heartfelt Instagram post published Monday night, Desmond, 34, talked about racial strife in America, lack of opportunity for young baseball players and his desire to be with his family.
âThe COVID-19 pandemic has made this baseball season one that is a risk that I am not comfortable taking,â Desmond wrote at the end of his post.
He added: âWith a pregnant wife and four young children who have lots of questions about whatâs going on in the world, home is where I need to be right now. Home for my wife, Chelsey. Home to help. Home to guide. Home to answer my older three boysâ questions about Coronavirus, Civil Rights and life. Home to be their dad.â
Desmond wrote eloquently about struggling to come to terms with racial injustice in America: âThe image of Derek Chauvinâs knee on the neck of George Floyd, the gruesome murder of a Black man in the street at the hands of a police officer, broke my coping mechanism. Suppressing my feelings became impossible.â
Desmond also questioned the current culture in big-league baseball.
âIn clubhouses weâve got racist, sexist, homophobic jokes or flat-out problems,â he wrote. âWeâve got cheating. Weâve got a minority issue from the top down. One African American GM. Two African American managers. Less than 8% Black players. No Black majority team owners.â
Desmond is in the fourth year of a five-year, $70 million contract with the Rockies. He was scheduled to make $15 million this season until the coronavirus shrunk the season to 60 games.
If Desmond has any personal medical issues, he can opt out of the while still accruing salary and service time. If not, he will give up his prorated portion of his salary for the year.
Rockies players are due to report to summer camp at Coors Field on Wednesday and are scheduled to begin practice on Friday or Saturday.
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