Joey Votto has done some soul-searching in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, and he really did not like what he saw inside himself when he got told about the gruesome video.
Votto blamed his privilege and pledged to do better in an op-ed titled “My awakening” published by the Cincinnati Enquirer on Sunday.
The Reds star said he received a text from a Black teammate to watch the video of police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes. He stated his initial reaction “was instantaneous defense of the officer.”
His teammate replied with “Watch the f—ing video.” It took him to the next day to watch it, and when he did, he “wept.”
He texted an apology to his friend, who accepted. He then spoke on his days of growing up in Canada and moving through the minor leagues with black and Latino teammates but it did not really open his eyes to the reality of being black in America.
“Everything inside of me wants things to go back to normal. I don’t want to protest, raise my voice, or challenge someone. I don’t want to have heated arguments, break up friendships, or challenge previous norms.
But I hear you now, and so that desire for normalcy is a privilege by which I can no longer abide. That privilege kept me from understanding the “why” behind Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the national anthem. That privilege allowed me to ignore my black teammates’ grievances about their experiences with law enforcement, being profiled, and discriminated against. And that privilege has made me complicit in the death of George Floyd, as well as the many other injustices that blacks experience in the U.S. and my native Canada.”
The column ended with a pledge to no longer be silent, and “#BlackLivesMatter.”