If Tigers Want To Kneel For Anthem, Gardenhire Has Their Back: 'We're United'

Several players remained in the clubhouse Tuesday night.

Will Burchfield
July 22, 2020 - 11:06 am

While several members of the Reds took a knee for the national anthem prior to Tuesday's exhibition game against the Tigers, including six-time All-Star Joey Votto, several members of the Tigers remained in the clubhouse. 

"We talked about it and that’s just what we decided to do," said Niko Goodrum, who was among those to stay off the field. "Some guys are kneeling, some guys are maybe locking arms. I’m not sure what every other team is doing, but that’s what we came up with and we did it as a unit." 

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It's unclear if this is the Tigers' plan moving forward. Some players and coaches Tuesday night stood for the anthem on the field. If members of the team decide to kneel to protest social and racial injustice, Ron Gardenhire said he fully supports them. 

"Our baseball team is united. Baseball in general is united on what we're trying to do here and making statements on what's been happening in this country," he said. "I believe in my guys. I told them, 'You take a stand, you do what you have to do. I've got no problem with that whatsoever.'

"And I have no problem with those guys on the other side kneeling. That doesn’t bother me one bit. They’re kneeling for a reason, and there is a good reason here. We're united, baseball's united." 

Major League Baseball expressed its support for players and coaches kneeling after several members of the Giants, including manager Gape Kapler, took a knee before the team's game against the A's on Monday. 

In response to a comment that kneeling is disrespectful to the military, MLB tweeted, "It has never been about the military or the flag. The players and coaches are using their platforms to peacefully protest." 

Along with Votto, the Reds players who knelt on Tuesday were Amir Garrett, Phillip Ervin and Alex Blandino.

"It was out of respect for everything that is great and good about our country, the sacrifices and the hard work that allow us to be here today," said manager David Bell. "The standing and kneeling also represents how much each individual on this team cares.

"If there is anything we can do to change and help us improve and become an even greater country, and certainly to stand against anything that our country doesn't stand for -- whether that's racism or anything that's unfair -- that, to me, is what was represented tonight."