ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays and Rowdies issued a succinct statement Tuesday about the evils of systemic racism and committed $100,000 annually to support causes that fight it.
The teams also said they fully support protestors exercising their civil rights and stand with black families living in fear.
The statement was drafted after conversations with community leaders and among members of their Diversity and Inclusion Committee “following the murder of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer,” and emphasized that words alone are not enough:
"Our country is mourning the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and so many others who have perished unnecessarily. The evils of systemic and institutionalized racism continue to plague our nation. We know that, all too often, these cases are dismissed or excused without justice being served.
"Black Lives Matter. Police brutality is inhumane. We fully support the protestors exercising their civil rights. We stand with black families living in fear.
"Our country demands better than this for its people. We can’t breathe.
"Words are not enough and have never been enough. We need continued action and a re-education of our culture. We are committing $100,000 per year to supporting causes in the fight against systemic racism.
"Over the coming days and weeks, we will identify and share these organizations with you, and do our best to amplify their vital messages. Our committee on Diversity and Inclusion will be responsible for directing those funds.
"Finally, we are reminded of the words of Jackie Robinson: ‘Life is not a spectator sport. If you’re going to spend your whole life in the grandstand just watching what goes on, in my opinion you’re wasting your life.’
“While our hearts may be broken, we aren’t giving up.”