"Tonight I stand with my fellow professional athletes in protest of the injustices my people continue to suffer. I could not play this game I love so much tonight knowing the hurt and anguish my people continue to feel. In a world where we are the ones who need to remain calm while a trained professional points a gun in our face; a world where the people in uniforms who took an oath to protect us are the same ones killing us; a world where we become hashtags before we even reach our potential; we must stand together, speak out, protest, and be the change we demand, require, and need so bad. To the families who have experienced these tragedies first hand my heart breaks for you, my prayers are with you and I use my platform to speak on your behalf. I will be protesting tonight’s game in honor of all of my fallen brothers and sisters at the hands of police brutality. #BLM #JacobBlake #BreonnaTaylor #GeorgeFloyd #Saytheirnames"
The announcement comes after the Milwaukee Bucks refused to play in their NBA playoff game earlier in the day in protest, which was followed by all three NBA games to be postponed. The decision comes in response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Sunday.
The Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds decided to sit out their MLB game on Wednesday as well, per Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal. Jim Bowden of CBS Sports HQ reported the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants have also decided not to play tonight.
Kemp and Heyward are among the small percentage of Black players in MLB, making up 7.8 percent of all players in the league as of April.
In June, Kemp posted a video with other Black players calling for change while stating "Black Lives Matter."
The 35-year-old is in his first year with the Rockies after signing a one-year deal in July and appearing in 24 of the team's first 30 games during the shortened season. He is hitting .246 with a .338 on-base percentage to go with two home runs.