Angels’ Brian Goodwin taking stance in fight against racism
Brian Goodwin has not watched the video in which Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man from Kenosha, Wis., was shot seven times in the back while walking away from police officers Aug. 23.
“I don’t have to,” the Angels outfielder said by phone before Saturday night’s 16-3 win over the Seattle Mariners. “It’s like picking at a scab of a wound. Time after time, you keep seeing this over and over. ... It’s like a horror movie, man.”
Goodwin, 29, is one of four Black players on the Angels, joining Justin Upton, Jo Adell and Keynan Middleton on the roster. He has seen enough videos of Black men dying at the hands of the police — Stephon Clark, Philando Castile and George Floyd, among others — to know he doesn’t need to see another to grasp the extent of racial injustice and police brutality in this country.
He’d rather do something about it, which is why he took part in several protests in Washington during baseball’s 3½-month shutdown, including one near the White House, in the wake of Floyd’s death after a Minneapolis police officer had his knee on his neck in May.
Whichever side of the political spectrum you’re on in the NBA protests, imagine what it would take for someone to possibly abandon a lifelong ambition to win a title.
And why he partnered with the Play Equity Fund to improve access to sports to all children regardless of race, gender or socioeconomic status, recently auctioning off a pair of custom-made cleats to raise $600 and agreeing to donate part of his 2020 salary to the fund.
And why he sought out Mariners second baseman Dee Gordon, one of baseball’s most vocal leaders in the fight against racism, near the batting cage before Friday night’s game.
Neither team wanted to stage a wildcat strike in protest of the Blake shooting, as NBA, NHL, WNBA and some baseball teams did. But they wanted to do something.
“He extended the olive branch,” Goodwin said of Gordon. “He said, ‘Look, this can be much bigger if we bring everybody together and try to do something.’ ”
The result: Seven Black Mariners players joined Goodwin, Upton, Adell, Middleton and teammates Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon and David Fletcher in shallow center field to link arms during the national anthem.
“It was 100% his idea,” said Goodwin, who is hitting .253 with four homers and 17 RBIs in 29 games. “When he came up with it, it just felt like the right thing to do with everything that’s going on right now, to continue the momentum we’ve hopefully started up to this point.”
Goodwin applauded the Milwaukee Bucks, whose arena is about 40 miles north of Kenosha, for starting another wave of protests on the heels of the Floyd protests, one that began with the NBA postponing three straight days of playoff games.
“I heard a lot of people saying on TV that everybody felt they were doing enough, that we were in a good place up to that point, and then this happened,” Goodwin said. “It made everyone realize there’s still a long way to go and a lot more we can be doing. It raises everybody’s awareness another notch.
Angels rookie Jo Adell has had a rough start. An outfield assist in Friday’s 3-2 win over the Seattle Mariners provided relief.
“Even with playoffs going on, the Bucks took a step back and said, ‘Look, we have all this stuff going on, but at the end of the day, nothing is more important than a human life, love and compassion, everyone coming together.’ I think it shows unity, the power of the people, and how strong we can be when we all unite.”
Goodwin isn’t sure how to measure the impact athletes are having in the fight against racism and police brutality, but he believes they are making a difference.
“There’s a lot of power in the voices that have been told before to just shut up and dribble and stick to sports and leave the politics out of it,” Goodwin said. “When it’s human beings and human rights, it’s people, it’s fathers, sons, it hits closer to home. When it shows how valuable a human life is, I think people start to see just what it is we’re standing for or kneeling for or sitting out games for.”
The Angels placed left-handed reliever Hoby Milner on the 10-day injured list because of right back spasms and recalled left-hander Ryan Buchter from their alternate training site. Infielder Luis Rengifo was also recalled, and infielder Franklin Barreto, acquired from Oakland for Tommy La Stella on Friday, was placed on the COVID-19-related injury list while he completes intake protocols.
Three takeaways on the Angels
— Jo Adell’s first big league homer was no cheapie. The rookie right fielder demolished an 87-mph Justus Sheffield changeup in the second, his two-run shot exiting his bat at 110 mph and traveling 437 feet, clearing both bullpens in left field for a 3-1 lead. Adell’s second homer, a 107-mph laser to right field, gave the Angels a 7-1 lead in the sixth.
— Mike Trout had the third six-RBI game of his career, lining a two-run double to right-center during a four-run sixth, a three-run homer to left in a four-run seventh and a sacrifice fly to left-center in the eighth. Trout just missed a three-run homer in his last at-bat, driving a 51.5-mph pitch from designated-hitter-turned-pitcher Tim Lopes 383 feet to the wall.
— Dylan Bundy, who reportedly is drawing serious trade interest from Toronto, Minnesota and Atlanta, didn’t have his best stuff but was able to grind his way through 5 1/3 innings, giving up one run and four hits, striking out three and walking three.
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