Colorado Rockies outfielder Ian Desmond has announced he will not play in the upcoming abbreviated Major League Baseball season as a way to keep his family — including his pregnant wife — safe during the coronavirus pandemic.
The 11-year veteran explained his decision in a lengthy Instagram post on Monday.
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"The COVID-19 pandemic has made this baseball season one that is a risk I am not comfortable taking," he wrote.
"With a pregnant wife and four young children who have lots of questions about what's going on in the world, home is where I need to be right now,'' he continued. "Home for my wife, Chelsey. Home to help. Home to guide. Home to answer my older three boys' questions about Coronavirus and Civil Rights and life. Home to be their Dad.''
Desmond, 34, two-time All-Star, also explained that as a biracial man, he's been haunted by recent events in the country.
“The image of Derek Chauvin’s 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 emotions became impossible,” he wrote.
Desmond shared memories of playing baseball as a child and enduring chants of “white power” made by his own teammates and lamented how baseball is not accessible to all children.
“I won’t tell you that I look around at the world today — baseball or otherwise — and feel like I have the answers. I don’t. I’m not a perfect person,” he added.
Desmond isn’t the only big leaguer who will skip the 2020 season. Washington National first baseman Ryan Zimmerman and pitcher Joe Ross announced Monday that they will not play, even as their team prepares to defend its World Series title. Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Mike Leake has also said he will opt out.