Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts isn’t one to generally speak out about social issues throughout the United States.
Over the past year, however, he’s grown more and more comfortable with doing so. And, after seeing a recent spike in hate crimes and racist attacks against Asians in the United States, Roberts knew he couldn’t be silent anymore.
As a Japan native himself, he had to say something. So last month, he sent out an email to the entire Dodgers organization.
“I have just come to a peace about speaking out about things that I believe are right,” Roberts said, via The Athletic. “And this particular situation towards Asians, Asian Americans, is something that obviously affects me personally, having a mother from Okinawa, Japan. Seeing what’s going on in our country, I just felt that I wanted to internally put something together for our organization, showing my support toward Asian Americans in our organization and acknowledge what’s going in our country and around the world that I just don’t believe is right.”
Dave Roberts inspired by Jeremy Lin
Roberts, who is set to enter his sixth season with the Dodgers this summer, said it was actually former NBA star and current Santa Cruz Warriors guard Jeremy Lin who inspired him to speak out.
Lin spoke out last month condemning the recent rise in bigotry against the Asian American community, and even revealed that he had been called “coronavirus” while playing in a basketball game over the past year in a lengthy, emotional Instagram post.
“Something is changing in this generation of Asian Americans,” Lin wrote, in part. “We are tired of being told that we don't experience racism, we are tired of being told to keep our heads down and not make trouble … So here we are again, sharing how we feel. IS ANYONE LISTENING??”
After seeing Lin’s post, Roberts realized how big of an issue this has become. So he reached out to the team’s traveling secretary Scott Akasaki, a Japanese American, and the two sent an email to the entire organization the next day.
Though the team doesn’t have any Asian players on its roster, Roberts knows how big the Asian community in Los Angeles and Southern California is.
“I just felt that if any organization should be the first to speak out about this, it should be us,” Roberts said, via The Athletic. “It’s great to know that the Dodgers’ organization supports my views, and for us to collectively be aligned is important. Unilaterally, we have a message that should be heard by all.”
The letter, both Roberts and Akasaki said, made a huge difference.
“I’ve received a couple of text messages from Asian American staff members, and they said that Dave’s letter meant so much to them, because for one of the first times they felt seen and they felt heard,” Akasaki said, via The Athletic.
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