Rangers outfielder Delino DeShields says he wouldn’t make a protest or demonstration without first talking to his teammates and management. Max Faulkner TNS
Rangers outfielder Delino DeShields says he wouldn’t make a protest or demonstration without first talking to his teammates and management. Max Faulkner TNS

Texas Rangers

DeShields firmly supports protests, rejects Trump criticism

By John Henry

Special to the Star-Telegram

September 25, 2017 09:22 PM

UPDATED September 25, 2017 11:05 PM

ARLINGTON

What would America’s best-known sports civil rights icon think about the current national debate concerning the recent collision of sports, culture, nationalism and social justice?

Jackie Robinson would have almost certainly approved of NFL players’ silent protest of taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem, a tradition whose beginnings are in America’s pastime.

In his 1972 autobiography “I Never Had it Made,” Robinson wrote of the opening game of the 1947 World Series, his first championship classic: “As I write this 20 years later, I cannot stand and sing the anthem. I cannot salute the flag. I know that I am a black man in a white world. In 1972, in 1947, at my birth in 1919, I know that I never had it made.”

His remarks 45 years ago were of a different tenor from those of today’s NFL players, who insist their beef is not with what Old Glory or the anthem represents, but a demonstration against alleged police brutality of American black men.

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Delino DeShields wasn’t in the lineup of the Rangers’ 11-2 loss to Houston on Monday night, which lowered Texas’ elimination number to one. But he reiterated his support for Oakland’s Bruce Maxwell, who on Sunday was believed to be the first major league player to use the anthem as a platform to express disapproval in the form of a protest.

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He did so in solidarity with NFL players.

On Monday, DeShields also said he emphatically rejected President Trump’s characterization of players who kneeled as SOBs.

“I don’t think it’s OK to say something like that,” DeShields said. “I think that really angered a lot of people. What happened [Sunday] was saying that to him.”

Ultimately, the issue is “is not about me or anybody who is in my position. It’s about others who aren’t as privileged, not given the opportunity we’ve been given. They go through stuff like that on a daily basis. It’s more so giving people in the inner cities, minorities, a voice who can speak for them. With the platform we’ve been given as athletes it’s a great opportunity to give people that voice.”

The “Star-Spangled Banner,” which didn’t even become the nation’s official anthem until 1931, played at games was solely a baseball tradition until World War II.

That its melody was borrowed from a British song, “To Anacreon in Heaven,” about drunkenness and womanizing is very Ruthian indeed.

It was played off and on throughout the late 1800s, but its first real impact on the sports culture is said to have occurred at Game 1 of the 1918 World Series between Boston and the Chicago Cubs, who played the song at the seventh-inning stretch as a national tribute during World War I.

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According to an account of the incident, The New York Times reported at the time, “The ball players turned quickly about and faced the music. First the song was taken up by a few [in the stands], then others joined, and when the final notes came, a great volume of melody rolled across the field.”

The Red Sox followed suit and played the anthem as well.

DeShields and his teammates have talked about the controversy, he said, and they have asked him how he felt about it. He is also convinced he would have the support of his team if he chose to demonstrate, saying, “since I first stepped in the doors, it has always felt like a family. I know Banny, J.D., everybody in here [I feel like] their son, or their family.”

He added that he wouldn’t make a demonstration without first talking to his teammates and management.

“You’ve been in our clubhouse. We’ve got guys from all over,” manager Jeff Banister said. “At one point Japan, Korea, Curaçao, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Panama, the United States. Oh, by the way, all different states of the United States. I love the fact that we have that diverse-enough a group to really be able to have conversations, and yet still be a single unit.

“I’m kind of proud of our guys, they actually have those conversations. We do life together, and when you do life together, you have those type of conversations. There’s respect, empathy and understanding. So I think that’s the most important part of what we’ve got going on.”

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Houston

000

801

200

11

12

2

Texas

011

000

000

2

8

2

Houston AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

Springer cf

5

1

1

0

0

1

.283

Stassi c

0

0

0

0

0

0

.200

Altuve 2b

3

1

1

1

1

0

.348

Kemp pr-lf

0

0

0

0

0

0

.130

Correa ss

5

1

0

0

0

2

.299

Davis 1b

0

0

0

0

0

0

.241

Gonzalez lf-2b-ss

5

3

4

3

0

1

.302

Gattis c

5

1

2

2

0

0

.270

Maybin cf

0

0

0

0

0

0

.223

Bregman 3b

3

1

2

1

0

0

.281

Moran 3b

1

0

0

0

0

0

.429

Beltran dh

4

1

0

0

1

0

.230

White 1b-2b

5

1

1

1

0

1

.302

Fisher rf

3

1

1

1

1

2

.212

Totals 39

11

12

9

3

7

Texas AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

Choo rf

4

0

0

0

0

1

.261

Calhoun lf

0

0

0

0

1

0

.071

Andrus ss

4

1

1

0

0

0

.296

Gosselin ss

1

0

0

0

0

1

.133

Mazara lf-rf

5

0

1

0

0

2

.254

Beltre dh

4

0

2

1

0

0

.313

Rua ph-dh

1

0

0

0

0

1

.218

Gallo 1b

4

1

2

1

0

1

.209

Gomez cf

4

0

1

0

0

3

.257

Hoying cf

0

0

0

0

0

0

.209

Odor 2b

0

0

0

0

3

0

.205

Robinson 2b

1

0

0

0

0

1

.200

Chirinos c

3

0

0

0

0

2

.253

Jimenez c

1

0

0

0

0

1

.167

Middlebrooks 3b

4

0

1

0

0

1

.188

Totals 36

2

8

2

4

14

E—Gattis (9), White (3), Andrus (17), Middlebrooks (1). LOB—Houston 7, Texas 11. 2B—Gattis (21), Bregman (37), White (6), Gomez (23). HR—Gonzalez (23), off Espino; Gallo (39), off McHugh. RBIs—Altuve (81), Gonzalez 3 (85), Gattis 2 (54), Bregman (63), White (10), Fisher (17), Beltre (71), Gallo (77). SB—Andrus (25). SF—Bregman. Runners left in scoring position—Houston 5 (Springer, Correa 2, Gattis, Bregman); Texas 5 (Choo, Chirinos 4). RISP—Houston 4 for 13; Texas 1 for 4. Runners moved up—Correa. GIDP—Gattis. DP—Texas 1 (Middlebrooks, Robinson, Gallo).

Houston

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

NP

ERA

McHugh, W, 4-2

5

7

2

2

3

6

112

3.45

Hoyt

1

0

0

0

0

2

14

4.50

Sipp

1

1

0

0

0

1

18

6.00

Clippard

1

0

0

0

0

2

8

4.94

Feliz

1

0

0

0

1

3

24

5.74

Texas

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

NP

ERA

Cashner, L, 10-11

3 2/3

6

8

1

2

2

82

3.42

Espino

2 2/3

5

3

3

1

1

47

5.87

Leclerc

 2/3

0

0

0

0

2

17

3.94

Bibens-Dirkx

2

1

0

0

0

2

22

4.66

Inherited runners-scored—Espino 2-2, Leclerc 1-0. HBP—Cashner (Fisher), Leclerc (Altuve). WP—McHugh. Umpires—Home, Paul Nauert; First, Carlos Torres; Second, Chris Guccione; Third, Dana DeMuth. T—3:33. A—30,390 (48,114).

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