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Angels’ Brian Goodwin eager to use his platform to fight racial inequality

Angels outfielder Brian Goodwin takes a knee and raises his fist during the playing of the national anthem.
Angels outfielder Brian Goodwin takes a knee and raises his fist during the playing of the national anthem before a game against the Oakland Athletics on Monday.
(Thearon W. Henderson / Getty Images)

Marching in protests against racial injustice and police brutality and taking a knee for the national anthem “is kind of new territory, honestly, for me,” Angels right fielder Brian Goodwin said on a videoconference call Thursday before a game against the Seattle Mariners in Angel Stadium.

It’s a space Goodwin, one of two Black players who are regulars in the Angels lineup, (Justin Upton is the other) has grown comfortable with relatively quickly.

Goodwin, 29, took part in several protests in Washington, during baseball’s 3 ½-month pandemic-induced shutdown, including one near the White House the day before National Guard troops used tear gas to clear out the area, after which President Trump was photographed with a Bible in front of St. John’s Church.

While several players, including Angels teammates Upton, Keynan Middleton, Andrelton Simmons and Noe Ramirez, kneeled during the national anthem on opening day last week, Goodwin took a knee for the anthem before each of the four season-opening games at Oakland.

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It appears the Big A sign could have a lot more architectural value than Angel Stadium thanks to “Modern architecture with Googie elements.”

“It’s an important issue, it’s something that needs to be addressed, and when you have the stage to address it, I feel like you need to use it,” Goodwin said. “And right now, I’m in position to have the stage and I have the support from the Angels, so it would be a detriment … to not take advantage of it.”

Goodwin had a breakout season for the Angels in 2019 after being claimed off waivers from Kansas City on March 27, batting .262 with 17 homers and 47 RBIs in 136 games. He is off to a good start in 2020, batting .385 (five for 13) with a homer and four RBIs in his first four games.

Though he is not considered a star athlete on par with LeBron James, Patrick Mahomes or Mookie Betts, Goodwin plans to use the platform he has to fight systemic racism.

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“This isn’t something that has just come about — it’s something we’ve been fighting for a long time,” Goodwin said. “The more attention we can bring to the issue, the more traction we can get, the more voices we can have heard … you know, there’s strength in numbers.

“I had an opportunity to go out and walk with people and protest peacefully and keep my foot on the gas as far as getting to a solution, and getting to somewhere where we can have those conversations and start changing stuff for the better. We have to continue to use our voices and doing so collectively with everyone in sync and on the same page.”

Angels center fielder Mike Trout could miss several games while on paternity leave.

Goodwin made a bit of a statement with his fashion choices Wednesday night, wearing one purple-and-gold cleat in honor of former Lakers star Kobe Bryant, who died in a Jan. 26 helicopter crash, and one blue-and-white cleat with the inscription “Crenshaw” in honor of Nipsey Hussle, the Los Angeles-born rapper, activist and entrepreneur who was shot and killed outside his clothing store in 2019.

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“They’re two of the most well-respected people in their realms, and around the world,” Goodwin said. “I felt it was just right for me to do something in my own personal way, to put my spin on it, to honor them and what they meant to me personally.

“Kobe with his Mamba mentality, his mentorship and his voice. Nipsey was a role model, connecting with his people, giving back to his community with his time. There’s a lot to be said for that. People who get that big, to be able to take time out of your busy schedule and give back is a respectful thing in itself.”


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