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Cardinals' Jack Flaherty: 'I Haven't Been Involved Enough' in Protesting Racism

Blake SchusterAnalyst IIAugust 27, 2020

St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Jack Flaherty throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty has become increasingly outspoken in baseball when it comes to social justice in the wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

His reason for doing so is simple. He told reporters he felt like he hasn't done enough to this point. 

"I haven't been involved enough," Flaherty told reporters on Thursday. "... I'm sick of talking. I just want to find things I can do and things that we can do as a community.” 

The 24-year-old, who is biracial and identifies as Black, was the only other Cardinals player to sit out Wednesday's game in protest with Dexter Fowler, who is one of three Black players on St. Louis' roster.

Blake was shot in the back seven times by Kenosha, Wisconsin, officer Rusten Sheskey on Monday while returning to his car after trying to de-escalate a domestic dispute. Blake is expected to survive; however, the shooting has left him paralyzed from the waist down. It's unknown if the condition is permanent. 

Flaherty's voice has grown more noticeable across baseball this season.

Considered one of the sport's rising stars after posting a 2.75 ERA, 0.968 WHIP with 231 strikeouts and 55 walks in 2019, the 24-year-old has used his platform to speak out on injustice. 

He was one of MLB's prominent players to speak up after the murder of George Floyd in May and on Thursday pointed a finger at his own league for not taking decisive action. 

While multiple teams voted not to play over the past 24 hours—following the lead of the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday—MLB as a whole hasn't called to postpone games. Conversely, the NBA, WNBA and MLS postponed play, while numerous NFL teams canceled practice to discuss action opportunities in their communities.  

The NHL is also considering postponing its playoffs on Thursday. 

The WNBA made one of the more striking displays of protests on Wednesday, with all teams coming together for a demonstration inside the league's bubble at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. Some players wore shirts with seven holes in the back, representing the number of times that Blake was shot by police. A candlelight vigil was held.

That sort of unity wasn't present in baseball. While the Seattle Mariners, Milwaukee Brewers, Cincinnati Reds, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants and San Diego Padres opted not to play Wednesday, other clubhouses were split. 

Outfielder Jason Hayward, who is a Black man, sat out for the Chicago Cubs but encouraged his teammates to take the field, for example. 

Flaherty not only wants Major League Baseball to do more, but he's taken it upon himself to join the chorus of players demanding it.