Change. And that’s what Dominic Smith is looking for. He took a knee Wednesday evening at Citi Field. In other words, Smith and the sports world are taking a stand in support of others.
A stance that others are protesting regarding the senseless police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Some MLB games were cancelled Wednesday. A few others Thursday. The NBA and NHL playoff teams doing the same. So is the WNBA.
Some may say, the leagues and their high profiled athletes should take no stand. Politics, after all, should not be a part of sports, except when a dignitary throws out the first pitch on Opening Day.
But, when you heard and saw Dominic Smith, with tears during his postgame Zoom interview Wednesday night, this was not about politics. It was not about being a Republican or a Democrat.
This was about society, and when will this senseless rash of police shootings come to an end? During a global pandemic that continues, with a major storm in the Southeast, and now this again.
But this a New York Met, a role model to youth and others. After a hard win against the Marlins, he asked for change, It was compelling and had nothing to do with baseball or how the Mets managed to get a late inning win.
You would say, this win for the Mets was more important.
Not last night. Others walked away as Dominic Smith and the Mets played a ballgame. However, that lingering issue of injustice was on rhe mind of Dominic Smith.
“I’ve been very emotional just to kind of see this continually happen,” he said. “It was a long day for me. I kind of wasn’t there mentally.”
But this was Dominic Smith, a kid from South Central Los Angeles. He has been there and saw this plight of injustice. He chose sports, baseball as the route to go and be that role model.
And that common way to always get away from all the injustice has been sports. We have seen this transpire so many times, the many stories of rags to riches and opportunity to get away from the injustice. Good example is the boxing gym opens the door to success for inner city youth and with a goal to escape the reality of what is wrong.
However, in 2020, it is unfortunate this continues. Dominic Smith felt that pain. Again, he felt the pain Wednesday night.
As he said, “Taking a knee just isn’t enough.” And it is not enough.
All you need to do is take a look at the Mets dugout.. There, it is not Black vs. White. Dom Smith and J.D, Davis are brothers on and off the field. They are sharing an apartment during this abbreviated season.
They go to war together on the field. Off the field also. Smith told that true and sad story of he and Davis not getting served at a dining establishment down in Port St. Lucie in March.
Smith had tears flowing when he recounted that experience, convinced that was racist. That’s not supposed to happen in 2020, and this latest and hard to understand incident in Wisconsin is also difficult to digest.
The tears were real, believe this writer who knows Dominic Smith. We have developed a good and great relationship as the reporter and player. Black man and White man going about their business.
He has said many times, to yours truly, how difficult the days were. A young man in the inner city and trying to cope. He related to my response and how growing up in the Bronx, back then, the Little Italy area of “The Bronx Tale” was a reality of Black vs. White
But boxing and the gym put us together in the neighborhood. So did all the other sports we played against rival neighborhoods as the racial differences and injustice were put to the side.
Just like it is with Dominic and JD, and that bond with all teammates. Color does not matter. Sports has a tendency to bring that into play.
So those tears were real. They came from the heart. When the Mets take the field again Thursday night, all eyes will be on the Mets. Will Dominic Smith take a knee again and will his teammates follow?
He has a right to take a knee again. So do all athletes that are sending a message. The message, though, has to be felt by those who are in control to end this injustice.
The question? Will they finally listen? The athletes are taking a stance. We all need to take a stance. Sports and those involved are powerful.
We saw and heard that statement from Dominic Smith.
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Photo: NY Mets Zoom