We should listen to Jackie Bradley Jr.

Rob Bradford
July 06, 2020 - 10:57 pm
Categories: 

We say that we're going to listen more, so let's start listening.

Adam Jones. Torii Hunter. They told their stories of Fenway Park racism. There were others, helping paint one picture of Boston and its approach toward minorities. It is all part of the conversation, particularly during these days of social justice and injustice.

But if you're really intent on understanding what is what, take a deep breath and soak in some words from Jackie Bradley Jr. It's worth your time.

First, understand this: Bradley Jr. has earned the right to have his voice. This has nothing to do with hitting hot streaks or cold spells. It's about a young man whose life had solely been about the "please" and "thank yous" of southern living, dropped into the big city of Boston probably a bit before he was ready while having to fend off some of those racial barbs that seem more prevalent when expectations aren't met. (Yes, he had some ugly experiences in 2014.)

Now, potentially just a few months from the end of his stay in Boston, Bradley Jr. understands it all. Better than most. And the fact that the outfielder's personality is even-keeled and intelligent makes the entire package the perfect way to deliver the latest most important message.

Monday, he didn't disappoint.

"There’s a lot of feelings, emotions, hurt, pain that goes along with a lot of things that have been voiced," said Bradley Jr. regarding the recent conversations following the tragic death of George Floyd. "It’s something that is not going to be so-called fixed overnight. This is something that, it requires change, and not necessarily always a change of a certain – it has to start with a change of heart. That’s what it all boils down to. You have to have the heart to be able to physically, emotionally and mentally make that change to be better, not only for yourself but for others around.

"We’ve come a long way as a nation, but we still have some ways to go, and I’m praying that we can get to the place that we need to be. As you said, yeah, I’ve had conversations with Ron (Roenicke) and some of my teammates that I’ve played with for quite some time, and it felt good to be able to hear from them and kind of hear what they had to say and for them to listen to me. I don’t have all the answers, but I do know it helps if we come together. Knowing that we’re together and being able to make a difference, that goes a long way."

A-plus.

No matter what happens with Bradley Jr. over the next few months his presence and poise at this time should be remembered.

It would have been easy for him to be angry. His future is uncertain. He is away from his family. The circumstances of his contractual situation most likely ruled out staying home. And of course, there are all the kind of issues discussions with Hunter and others that have offered routine reminders. But instead, there was the level-headed nature that Boston should be proud of.

Bradley Jr. might be soon moving on, but Monday was another reminder that he should be classified as a keeper.

"I've talked with Torii since I was a rookie. He's an amazing mentor," Bradley noted. "Someone that you can go to and just discuss anything, whether it's just life, baseball, family. There's a lot of guys that I've spoken with along the way. For them to give me knowledge to use and help my career is something that I'm very appreciative for. I think everybody has different experiences, and I'm not here to compare my experience to his. I'm sure we've all had different experiences in certain situations, certain places. But I just hope we get better and make a change.

"It all boils down to people just have to want that change. You can't force it on anybody. We have to show a lot more love in this country."