Dodgers manager Dave Roberts is using his platform to denounce bullying and violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in an email sent to the entire organization.
Roberts told The Athletic's Dennis Lin and Pedro Moura that he felt compelled to write the email after basketball player Jeremy Lin condemned the racism that he and other Asian Americans face in a Facebook post on Feb. 25.
In his post, Lin, who is Taiwanese American, said he was called "coronavirus" during a game and added that his generation is "tired" of dealing with prejudice and bigotry.
After seeing Lin's post, Roberts spoke with Dodgers traveling secretary Scott Akasaki, who is Japanese American. They drafted the email and sent it the following day.
"I just felt that if any organization should be the first to speak out about this, it should be us," Roberts told The Athletic. "It's great to know that the Dodgers' organization supports my views, and for us to collectively be aligned is important. Unilaterally, we have a message that should be heard by all."
According to the Associated Press, bigotry towards Asian Americans has grown during the COVID-19 global pandemic, including an increase in hate crimes, after the disease originated in the Wuhan province of China.
Stop AAPI Hate, a coalition of Asian American advocacy groups, issued a report in August indicating it received more than 2,500 reports of racism and discrimination towards Asian Americans nationwide since the group formed in March.
Out of the incidents that Stop AAPI Hate categorized, 70.6% involved verbal harassment/name-calling.
The coalition gathered data from 47 states and found that 46% of the incidents occurred in California.
In his letter, Roberts, who is the son of a Black father and a Japanese mother, addressed the rise in hate crimes in the past year.
"In recent months, those attacks have intensified and have targeted the elderly in California and New York–such bullying is cowardice," Roberts wrote. "I am also proud that the Dodgers organization, with its forward-thinking ways, has transformed its work environment by establishing better ways for all employees to be heard, and as a result, I write this letter today. After speaking with Dodger leadership, the entire organization fully supports this view."
He added: "Many of you know that I was born in Okinawa, Japan, and my mother is Japanese. I am proud to stand with my Asian American co-workers, the community, and all others who support an inclusive and open-minded society. #StopAsianHate"