Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora made headlines over the weekend when he told a Puerto Rican newspaper he would skip his team’s upcoming visit to the White House because of the Trump administration’s inadequate response to the devastation wreaked on his homeland by Hurricane Maria in 2017.
The Red Sox are scheduled to be honored for their 2018 world championship on Thursday after completing a three-game series against the Orioles at Camden Yards.
“Even though the United States Government has helped, there’s still a long road ahead and that is OUR reality,” Cora said in a statement published in the Spanish-language newspaper El Nuevo Dia on Sunday. “I’ve used my voice on many occasions so that Puerto Ricans are not forgotten and my absence [from the White House] is no different.”
When Cora was asked before Monday’s game about his decision, he said it was made “with a lot of conviction."
According to various accounts, as many as 11 Red Sox players also have decided not to make the visit and pitching ace David Price went on social media Monday to endorse a tweet by The Athletic’s Steve Buckley that the decision was split along racial lines, with mostly white players choosing to attend.
Cora said Monday his decision was a personal one that was made in consultation with family members in Puerto Rico.
“I think the message was clear, simple and everybody understands why, and there are some people who don’t understand,’’ he said. “That is our reality and I don’t feel comfortable going to a celebration while we’re leaving what we’re leaving back home.”
Hurricane Maria devastated the island — which is a U.S. territory — causing an estimated 3,000 deaths and leaving a large percentage of the population without electricity for months. This is not the first time Cora has used his platform as Red Sox manager to direct attention to the hardships Puerto Ricans still face 20 months later.
“Puerto Rico is very important to me,’’ he told El Nueva Dia. “During the winter I spent a lot of time back home, visiting my family and friends. Unfortunately, we are still struggling, still fighting. Some people still lack basic necessities, others remain without electricity and many homes and schools are in pretty bad shape almost a year and a half after Hurricane María struck.”
He said Monday that he’s comfortable with his decision.
“I learned conviction from my dad and my mom,’’ Cora said. “The last text I got yesterday before the game was from my mom and it was a powerful one.”