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Orioles issue statement in support of ‘Black Lives Matter,' commit to fight racial injustice amid protests

In a statement on the team’s Twitter account Tuesday, the Orioles “committed to advocate for the change our country needs today and to root out racism and prejudice of any kind” following the death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department.

“Black Lives Matter,” the statement ended.

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The statement comes amid local and national protests against police brutality and racial injustice sparked by Floyd’s death and other black people killed by police in America. Floyd died last week after being pinned by the neck to the ground by a Minneapolis police officer for several minutes, a scene captured on video and widely shared on social media that led to charges of third-degree murder and manslaughter against since-fired officer Derek Chauvin.

Baltimore has had several protests since late last week, including a large gathering Monday that briefly marched outside the B&O Warehouse overlooking Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

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Many franchises in the four major professional sports — the NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB — have released statements condemning police brutality since Floyd’s death, and athletes have been outspoken on social media.

On Saturday, Orioles pitcher Asher Wojciechowski tweeted that he "will amplify the messages of the black community so your thoughts and ideas are heard in your own voice. I will educate myself. I am with you. I am your ally.”

On Monday, outfielder Dwight Smith Jr. tweeted that he was taking part in a peaceful protest near his home in Fulton County, Georgia. “I challenge everybody to try this with friends and family to spread the word everywhere for social injustice!" he wrote.

The team’s statement reads as follows:

“Nearly six decades ago, at another low point in our country’s ongoing struggle to understand and rectify the racial injustice our fellow Americans have endured since the inception of our nation, the author James Baldwin warned, ‘Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.’

"Today, as our friends and neighbors experience the same mistreatment of generations ago in the form of engrained, unyielding, and institutionally-discriminatory systems that deny justice and equality, and provide in their place a steady supply of brutalizing misconduct, compounded in some cases by voices that fan the flames of violence and racism, it is imperative that we face the past and present.

"Dr. King said, ‘Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.’

"The entire Orioles family expresses solidarity with the families of all who have had their lives destroyed and communities disrupted by the forces of racial bias and violent abuse. With enduring understanding, empathy, and a peaceful resolve, we are committed to advocate for the change our country needs today and to root out racism and prejudice of any kind as we strive to make a better America in the future.

"Black Lives Matter.”

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