The New York Mets and Miami Marlins were scheduled to play baseball on Thursday but instead used the opportunity to participate in a protest for racial injustice. After both teams stepped out of their respective dugouts to observe a 42-second moment of silence, Stephen Tarpley placed a T-shirt that read "Black Lives Matter" on home plate, and then everyone went inside their clubhouses.
Video of the moment was posted on social media shortly afterward.
This is the latest protest of this kind from a professional sports team in response to the recent events in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where a police officer shot a black man seven times in the back. The Milwaukee Bucks were the first team to stage this kind of protest on Wednesday when they refused to take the floor for their playoff game against the Orlando Magic. Other players throughout the league soon followed suit in opting not to play, forcing the NBA and WNBA to postpone all games that evening. Most MLS teams and several MLB teams followed suit, with the NHL Players Association later deciding to sit-out their Thursday and Friday games in protest.
The Mets were not one of the teams that sat out Wednesday's game. However, prior to their 5-4 win against the Marlins, New York's Dominic Smith, who is Black, knelt during the national anthem as it played throughout Citi Field. He spoke about his decision after the game.
"I think the most difficult part is to see people still don't care," said Smith. "For this to just continuously happen, it just shows the hate in people's heart. That just sucks, you know? Black men in America, it's not easy. Like I said, I just wasn't there today, but I'll bounce back. I'll be fine."
Smith's kneeling is what inspired the Mets to not play on Thursday in protest, something that team owner Jeff Wilpon pushed back on, according to an inadvertently uploaded video of Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen speaking on the subject. Per the team exec, Wilpon's plan was to leave the field at 7:10 in demonstration and return an hour later to play.