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Kyle Schwarber’s unique life experiences compel him to undoubtedly empathize and support Jason Heyward, all Black MLB players

2 years agoAndy Martinez

Kyle Schwarber collected his thoughts, took in a deep breath and exhaled all in a brief second.

It was a moment that probably felt as long as any of the 117 home run trots he had taken in his career, but the moment was well shorter than the 5.6 seconds his home run ball was in the air on Friday night.

Schwarber was reflecting on the previous 48 hours or so that he and the Cubs had endured, from the moment teammate Jason Heyward chose to sit out Wednesday’s game in Detroit to protest racial injustice, to the off-day where the team opened communication with Heyward on the topic, to Friday, where the topic was still as present as ever.

“In Detroit, that was a day that was pulling at all of our hearts,” Schwarber said after pondering for a brief instant. “It was wanting to be there for the Black community, wanting to be there for Jason Heyward and being able to support it in the best way that we can and to be able to take his word and to be able to feel that he is the most supported in every way possible.”

Schwarber can sympathize with both sides of the spectrum; he has family who is in law enforcement and started his own campaign, Schwarber’s Neighborhood Heroes, to honor first responders. His wife, Paige, is biracial and his sister married his best friend who is Black.

“Not trying to say that I’m pulling any card or something like that, I’m just saying this is my reality, you know?” Schwarber said. “This is something that I live every day that I wanna be able to do the right thing.”

Over the last few days, that’s meant being a good friend and teammate to Heyward. Schwarber showed that.

“I think we all just wanna be able to be there to support everyone in this situation and to be able to show that there needs to be change in this country,” Schwarber said. “We wanna be able to support Jason Heyward, Jeremy Jeffress, anyone — all baseball players that are Black.”

That’s something that Schwarber will continue to do. He’ll continue to support first responders through his campaign, but he’ll gladly stand behind his teammates and show that he supports them.

“I think that this is good to show that we wanna be able to use our voices,” Schwarber said. “We’re everyday Americans, too. We just do this for a living.”

And regardless whether it’s Kyle Schwarber the professional baseball player, a first responder, a Black security guard or anyone else, Schwarber wants to see a world where everyone is truly equal.

“We want our country to not be, I guess, I’m trying to find the right word, angry, I would say,” Schwarber said. “It’s all about loving each other, treating each other with respect and not judging people just because they look some way.”

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