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Jackie Robinson Day: MLB players pledge salaries for racial justice

New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge is among a group of dozens of players who will donate game salaries to initiatives to fight racial injustice. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge is among a group of dozens of players who will donate game salaries to initiatives to fight racial injustice. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 28 (UPI) -- Dozens of Black players announced that they will donate game salaries to initiatives to fight racial injustice Friday, as Major League Baseball celebrates Jackie Robinson Day.

The players donated the game checks to the Players Alliance, a group of more than 100 Black and former MLB players created to create change and equality in MLB.

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MLB's celebration of Jackie Robinson Day is typically on April 15, the day Robinson broke the league's color barrier and became the first Black player to compete in an MLB game.

The date for Jackie Robinson Day was moved into August due to the 2020 MLB season delay caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

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"The color of our skin is the uniform we wear every day," the Players Alliance said in a statement. "We cannot change that.

"What we can change is the pain and injustice the Black community has suffered for far too long. We are determined to use our platform to speak out, and encourage our teammates and fans to help make our voices even louder."

Curtis Granderson, C.C. Sabathia, Edwin Jackson, Tim Anderson, Dexter Fowler, Dee Gordon, Jason Heyward, Aaron Hicks, Andrew McCutchen and Cameron Maybin are among the Players Alliance board members.

Josh Bell, Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Aaron Judge, Marcus Stroman and Giancarlo Stanton are on the Players Alliance's major league player committee.

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Seven MLB games were postponed Thursday after the NBA sparked a string of sportswide sit outs in protest of the police-involved shooting of Jacob Blake.

The Players Alliance referenced the unrest in the nation as a result of the Blake shooting.

"Our players have collectively decided to donate their salaries from Aug. 27 and 28 to the Players Alliance, supporting our efforts to combat racial inequality and aid the Black families and communities deeply affected in the wake of recent events," the group said.

The Miami Marlins and Kansas City Royals were among the teams to announce initiatives on Jackie Robinson Day.

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The Marlins announced a $420,000 donation to the Jackie Robinson Foundation on Friday morning. The donation will help the foundation to award an annual college scholarship to a deserving African American student from South Florida.

"Jackie was an inspiration for his work on and off the field, and his impact can be seen across South Florida and throughout the nation," Marlins CEO Derek Jeter said.

"We, along with the Jackie Robinson Foundation, are committed to ensure all youth in our community have equal opportunities in their pursuit of academic success."

The Royals said they will host a group of 42 young athletes to watch their game Friday against the Chicago White Sox and to view the Robinson-inspired movie 42 on the field at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.

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