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Orioles VP John Angelos discusses racial injustice, expresses optimism for 2020 MLB season

Orioles executive vice president John Angelos discussed the club’s statement on the widespread protests against racial injustice and police brutality in a radio interview with ESPN on Wednesday, and also expressed optimism for baseball to resume from its months-long coronavirus shutdown.

Angelos, the son of managing partner Peter G. Angelos, spoke of the club’s citation of author James Baldwin and the intention to provide a human perspective as they supported the Black Lives Matter movement in a sweeping statement Tuesday that also cited Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The Orioles also “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, which sparked nationwide protests.

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“I would encourage people to go back and read the writings of James Baldwin and think about the challenges that someone in his position had as a child, as a young person, as a person trying to be an artist with all the disadvantages and all the systemic obstacles that he faced at that time,” Angelos said on ESPN’s Spain and Company, hosted by Sarah Spain and Jordan Cornette.

“If you think about the problems that African-Americans face and minorities face and women face, and those that are faced with economic impoverishment, multi-generational economic impoverishment, those are real obstacles in 2020 in many parts of our community. What must that have been like 60 or 70 years ago, 80 years ago?“

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Angelos said that mentioning Baldwin is “there for a reason” to help people see issues from perspectives other than their own, citing the emotion that comes through in Baldwin’s writing.

“We’re not trying to state something about a perspective of big business or small business,” he said. “We’re trying to give a human perspective.”

Angelos, who along with his brother Louis have taken on a larger role in the Orioles’ ownership group because of the declining health of their father, also said that he feels optimistic about there being a baseball season in 2020. He cited the obligation to a much larger group than the owners and players, who are going back and forth with proposals, as a reason for that position.

“This is literally about tens of thousands of people who rely and earn a living for their families who work for the clubs, then all the companies that support that — the concession companies, the security companies, all the different folks that go into it. The media companies, the broadcasters. A lot of people rise and fall if we pit this together and have a season, so I am optimistic, maybe because I think we owe it to those people — and not to mention all the economic impact, the tourism and so forth that sports create, particularly baseball because we’re so voluminous in our games.”

The league office and the Major League Baseball Players Association have been swapping proposals on a shortened season for the past several weeks, and Angelos said that safety would be the first priority amid the pandemic.

“We may not play that long of a season because the experts think that we don’t want to be playing in November because of a potential resurgence of the virus, the COVID-19 virus, but I’m very optimistic that that will happen,” he said. “I trust in the commissioner’s office and the players’ association to get it done, and it’s the right thing so we should put our interim issues aside and make an agreement.”

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