Dodgers’ Dave Roberts speaks out on surge of hate crimes against Asian Americans

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts talks with some fans prior to a spring training game against the Colorado Rockies on March 1.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts talks with some fans prior to a spring training game against the Colorado Rockies on March 1 in Phoenix.
(Ross D. Franklin / Associated Press)

A rise in hate crimes toward Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic prompted Dodgers manager Dave Roberts to send an email to the entire organization decrying the wave of bullying and violence as “cowardice.”

Roberts, the son of a Japanese mother and Black father, said the email, the contents of which were first reported by the Athletic on Monday, was prompted not by a specific event but by “something that was on my heart that needed to be shared.” The five-paragraph note was sent earlier this spring.

“I just think there’s a lot of things going on inside and outside of our country toward Asians — racist, bullying acts,” Roberts said before Monday’s exhibition game against the Chicago White Sox at Camelback Ranch.


“It obviously hit close to home for me, and I wanted to address it internally and show my support for the Asian Americans in our organization … just [to let them know] we’re all aware of it.”

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has noticed a different “demeanor” in Clayton Kershaw coming off the Dodgers’ World Series title season.

March 5, 2021

The Times reported last week that in a survey of police departments in 16 major U.S. cities, the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, a research office at Cal State San Bernardino, found a total of 122 anti-Asian hate crimes last year — a 149% increase from the 49 in 2019.

The numbers climbed in 15 of the 16 cities, with New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Seattle and San Jose experiencing the most significant increases and their highest tallies in at least five years.

The rise in crimes, harassment and bigotry toward Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders is almost certainly related to the coronavirus pandemic, which originated in China and which former President Trump took to calling the “Wuhan virus” and the “Chinese virus.”

Stop AAPI Hate, a tracker supported by Asian American advocacy groups, logged 1,990 anti-Asian harassment incidents and 246 assault cases in the first 10 months since it launched in March 2020.

“Unfortunately, anti-Asian sentiment is a part of American history (see 1880s, 1940s or the 1980s as examples) and it has resurfaced again during the pandemic, as some seem to blame the world’s problems on one ethnic group,” Roberts wrote in his email. “To blame Asian Americans at all for the global pandemic is just plain wrong.”

Roberts, who last summer supported his team’s refusal to play an August game against the San Francisco Giants in protest of the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, in Wisconsin, wrote that he was “proud that the Dodgers organization, with its forward-thinking ways, has transformed its work environment by establishing better ways for all employees to be heard.”


He said Monday that his email was well-received throughout the organization.

“I think a lot of people felt heard and supported, and that was really important to me,” Roberts said. “It’s not right treating anyone of any race that way.”