Reds slugger Joey Votto wrote a powerful op-ed about how the George Floyd protests opened his eyes.

George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis PD has had far-reaching consequences, including forcing the white community to come to terms with racial inequality in America. Athletes are by no means exempt from this reality, and Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto shared his story to perhaps inspire others of similar mind to step out from the dugout.

Votto’s op-ed appeared on Cincinnati.com and detailed his initial skepticism as a white man in the United States, and the overwhelming sadness that came with his realization of just how ignorant he’d been in ignoring the many examples of racial inequality in his daily life.

Joey Votto’s op-ed about George Floyd’s death can teach us all to embrace our differences

“But I also witnessed glimpses of racism that should have opened my eyes to the realities of being a black man in America. My teammates, my friends, the ones that I shared great times with, faced prejudices that I never did and when they shared their experiences…I did not hear them,” Votto wrote.

Votto opened his mind a day after a text from an African-American teammate which included the video of Floyd’s death. Initially, he admits, he chose not to watch and even lashed out at said teammate while trying to poke holes in Floyd’s story. Yet, a day later, Votto’s stance changed dramatically.

The 36-year-old was raised in a predominantly Caucasian community outside of Toronto. As he details in his piece, it’s taken him a long time, and many conversations with black teammates, to educate himself on the issues protestors are bringing to light at this very moment.

The video of Floyd’s death, while an inexcusable tragedy, has served as an eye-opener for a community that needed a reminder at this very point and time. Votto is just another example of that.

Next: MLB’s lacking social voice and the decline of African-American ballplayers

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