Joey Votto Admits He Has Been Ignorant to Racism in Self-Written Newspaper Op-Ed

Since the tragic killing of George Floyd, many athletes have been outspoken in wanting to see a change in America. They want to see the police brutality and racism problems in this country finally come to an end. Some athletes have even admitted to being ignorant to the problems in the past. This is the case with Cincinnati Reds star Joey Votto, who recently discussed what he has done wrong in an op-ed he wrote for the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Joey Votto has been excellent for the Cincinnati Reds

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The Cincinnati Reds selected Joey Votto in the second round of the 2002 MLB draft out of Richview Collegiate Institute in Toronto, Ontario. Votto made his MLB debut with the Reds in late 2007. He then, however, became a star in his first full year in 2008.

Votto finished second in the NL Rookie of the Year award race in 2008. He went .297 at the plate that year to go with 24 home runs and 84 RBIs. Then, after hitting .322 in 2009 to go with 25 home runs and 84 RBIs, Votto was unstoppable in 2010. 

Votto was the 2010 NL MVP. He went .324 at the plate to go with 37 home runs, 113 RBIs, and 106 runs scored. The Reds were really good that season too as they went 91-71 and won the NL Central. Votto also earned his first All-Star selection that season, which was the first of four straight.

In those four consecutive All-Star seasons, Votto hit .305 or better in each of those seasons. He also led the NL in walks in three straight seasons from 2011 through 2013. Additionally, in 2011 Votto led the NL in doubles. Votto only appeared in 62 games at the plate in 2014. He, however, hit .314 in 2015 to go with 29 home runs, 80 RBIs, and 95 runs scored.

He then hit .326 in 2016 to go with 29 home runs and 97 RBIs before earning another All-Star selection in 2017. Votto hit .320 in 2017 to go with 36 home runs, 100 RBIs, and 106 runs scored. He also led the NL in walks.

Votto earned another All-Star selection in 2018 but had a down year last season. At 35 years old in 2019, Votto went .261 at the plate. He also only had 15 home runs, 47 RBIs, and 79 runs scored.

Sports stars protest racism in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death

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George Floyd was a 46-year old black man who recently died after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on the back of his neck for over eight minutes.

Since his death, the entire world has been protesting police brutality and racism. Many current and former athletes have either been outspoken on social media or have actually gone out and protested across the country. Some white athletes and even white sports executives have also admitted to being ignorant to the racism problems in America.

Last week, Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard admitted that he has been naive. 

“I’ve been ignorant to the real problem, and I’m ashamed of that,” Ballard said, according to the IndyStar. “This is an issue that we have to talk about, and we can’t sugarcoat it. We can’t sugarcoat our way out of this. We can’t go back into our bubble, because that’s what we’ve always done.”

Now, Votto is admitting his ignorance.

Votto wrote an op-ed in the Cincinnati Enquirer

Many athletes and sports stars have spoke out against racism after George Floyd's death. Now, Reds star Joey Votto admits his ignorance.
Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds looks on against the Miami Marlins in 2019. | Michael Reaves/Getty Images

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Joey Votto wrote his initial reactions to the George Floyd killing recently in an op-ed published by the Cincinnati Enquirer.

He also discussed how he was raised in one of “the most culturally diverse cities in the world” just outside of Toronto. Despite that, and despite sharing hotel rooms with African-American teammates while in the minor leagues, Votto admitted to not hearing his friends when they shared their prejudice experiences.

“But I hear you now, and so that desire for normalcy is a privilege by which I can no longer abide,” Votto wrote. “That privilege kept me from understanding the ‘why’ behind Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the national anthem. That privilege allowed me to ignore my black teammates’ grievances about their experiences with law enforcement, being profiled, and discriminated against. And that privilege has made me complicit in the death of George Floyd, as well as the many other injustices that blacks experience in the U.S. and my native Canada.”

Joey Votto

Votto later ended the op-ed saying that he will no longer be silent. 

Admitting ignorance can be hard to do. However, Joey Votto has done that, which is a huge step toward improving the racism problem in this country. Hopefully, Votto has now inspired others to do the same thing.

Stats courtesy of Baseball Reference