CLEVELAND — Social justice was a huge theme for the Cleveland Indians during Friday's Opening Day at Progressive Field.
The Indians held a moment of silence for the victims of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as in tribute to Black Lives Matter and the cause of social justice reform in America.
During the moment of silence, several members of the Indians took to a knee.
When the moment of silence ended, giving way to the playing of "The Star Spangled Banner," all members of the Tribe stood together with their right hands over their hearts and their left hands on the right shoulder of their teammates during the national anthem.
This was similar to what took place in Pittsburgh last Friday during the team's exhibition game against the Pirates. Shortstop Francisco Lindor says the display is a sign of support for social justice. Lindor says the team held a lengthy meeting about what to do and came up with a plan they believe helps the call attention to the situation without being disrespectful to the American flag.
When the Tribe took the field at Progressive Field on Friday, they did so wearing their road uniforms.
Rather than donning their traditional white or red jerseys, the Indians will be wearing their navy road alternate that reads "CLEVELAND" across the chest. The team's use of its road uniforms at home comes three weeks to the day that it announced it was having discussions that could ultimately result in the franchise moving on from the Indians team name.
"We're wearing the Cleveland jersey to bring awareness and continue to bring awareness and we hope that's a start of change," Lindor said. "We know change is due and it is time, but I believe that positive change can happen. Shining the light on those minorities and people that are in need, it's extremely important. And today, by wearing the Cleveland jersey, that's what we're doing out there: bringing the spotlight on those people, minorities that need the spotlight on them, so their voices can be heard. Positive change can happen and we're due for it."
Asked if the Indians would only be wearing Cleveland-branded jerseys moving forward, Lindor said he wasn't sure.
In addition to their jerseys, Indians players took the field for batting practice on Friday wearing black and white t-shirts that read "end racism." Progressive Field also displayed "Black Lives Matter" on outfield scoreboard throughout pre-game warmups.
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