NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball players have the option of having a patch with “Black Lives Matter” or “United For Change” on a jersey sleeve on opening day of the pandemic-delayed season.
Teams have the option of stenciling an inverted MLB logo with “BLM” or “United for Change” on the back of the pitcher’s mound during opening weekend games.
After discussions among the commissioner’s office and the Major League Baseball Players Association, The Players Alliance and individual players, each player may use a wristband with an inverted MLB logo in which the silhouetted batter is black, the first use of such a logo.
Each player also may use a Black Lives Matter batting practice T-shirt or a T-shirt designed or obtained by the player or his team.
MLB is lifting cleat restrictions for this season, giving players the ability to put messages for social justice and causes on their spikes.
Jersey patches would go on the left sleeve unless a team has an existing patch there, in which case the new one would go on the right sleeve. The special patches will be used Thursday and Friday.
The initiatives that start Thursday were designed to allow players to show support for social justice generally, and diversity and inclusion in baseball. They were deliberately made flexible, allowing players to make individual decisions.
T-shirts with the messages and the special wristbands may be used for the entire season.
When the English Premier League resumed last month, player names were replaced with “Black Lives Matter” during the opening games.
In addition, the World Series champion Washington Nationals will have a black heart in center field with “D.C.” in the middle starting with Thursday night’s MLB season opener against the New York Yankees. The heart is meant to show support for the D.C. community, the Nationals said.
MLB said that since the death of George Floyd on May 25 it had enhanced existing partnerships with the Jackie Robinson Foundation and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and also made new investments in the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and launched a Diverse Business Partners Recovery Project.