Cubs' Jed Hoyer, David Ross: MLB Has Platform to Encourage Change

Hoyer, Ross: Baseball can play role in real-world change originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Cubs manager David Ross’ kids came to town as the team returned from its trip to Cincinnati and he spent the day with them going to a museum and then out to dinner and play.

And treasuring every moment perhaps a little more than usual.

“Oh, man. As a country right now we’re in a really sad, bad time,” he said, reflecting on the school shooting in Texas that killed 19 kids and two teachers after being asked about Giants manager Gabe Kapler’s strong words the day before.

“I don’t have the answers, but I think something needs to change,” Ross said. “I mean, anybody that’s a parent that has kids that saw what’s happening around our country lately, the radar’s up. And put yourself in those people’s shoes, and something needs to change.

“I’m not a lawmaker. But something’s got to happen.”

Neither Ross nor team president Jed Hoyer claimed to have the answers to what seems like more frequent, horrific mass shootings — including the racism-motivated grocery store shooting in Buffalo less than two weeks earlier that killed 10.

But both agree that the high-profile nature of major-league sports and its participants provide an appropriate platform for efforts to help find change and answers — whether it’s Kapler’s refusal to acknowledge the national anthem at games “until I feel better about the direction of our country” or Warriors coach Steve Kerr’s angry, impassioned plea for gun-control legislation the day of the Texas shooting.

“Whether it’s MLB as a whole or individual teams or individual people, I think there’s definitely a place for it,” Hoyer said. “I do think that sports in general have a large audience and therefore I think they can make a difference.”

Roberts on Tuesday called out lawmakers blocking gun legislation as “very irresponsible” in another impassioned plea.

“Anytime you get to get in front of a camera and get in front of millions of people on TV, I think you use that platform for the best that you feel you can use it,” Ross said. “I love what Steve Kerr said. [Dodgers manager] Dave Roberts had some choice words that he said the other day. I couldn’t agree with those two more.

“Something’s got to change.”

Unlike his White Sox counterpart Saturday, Ross didn’t say whether he agreed with Kapler’s gesture involving the anthem.

But he and Hoyer both expressed “respect” for Kapler making a decision from the heart and a gesture especially rare in baseball.

“I’m proud of him for taking that stand,” Hoyer said.

Hoyer calls his 20 minutes a day taking his sons to school his favorite part of the day.

“It definitely felt different at the end of the week, dropping them off and thinking about it,” he said. “I think we can all agree that dropping off your kids at school is something you should never have to think about.”

Ross had to wait for his kids to finish the school year to see them this season and he seemed to be visibly more upbeat after spending the off day with them.

“We’ve got to be better, man,” he said. “We send our kids to school for education and protection. And I want to be able to go to the grocery store and get cereal that my kids want. … I don’t know. I don’t have the answers.

“Something needs to be done. And if anybody’s got any ways to help, I’d love to hear them.”

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