- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 3, 2020

The Washington Nationals joined the trend of major companies issuing a social-awareness statement in light of the protests around the death of George Floyd. But now, the defending World Series champions are facing criticism on social media for not going far enough in their condemnation of racism.

After the Nationals circulated the release late Tuesday, fans took the team to task for the wording used in the 262-word statement. The Nationals did not directly address racism, police misconduct and even the protests related to Floyd’s death.

In the statement, the Nationals call for “unity and solidarity” and pointed to their youth baseball academy and charitable work as ways the organization tries to “teach our children the virtues of respect and treating others with decency, humility and kindness.”

The Nationals issued the statement on the behalf of the Washington Nationals Founding Partners Group, the team’s six minority owners of color.

In it, the Nationals said their World Series victory last fall was a “living example of cultural diversity blending” together.

“On behalf of the Founding Partners Group and our families, we wish for everyone’s safety in the DC Metropolitan community, our nation and beyond,” the Nationals said. “We encourage our fellow citizens to lead by example and commit to playing a meaningful role in shaping a vision and future for our youth, regardless of their race, that unifies and celebrates all of us.”

The statement left critics unsatisfied, with one fan suggesting to just “copy and paste” what the Wizards issued. On Sunday, the Wizards said they would “no longer tolerate the assassination of people of color in this country” and called out the “abuse of power” from law enforcement.

This is the latest backlash the Nationals have received in recent months. Earlier this week, Washington backtracked on a plan to reduce stipends to minor leaguers after social media scrutiny and Nationals vowed to cover the difference. In the fall, catcher Kurt Suzuki also drew criticism for donning a “Make America Great Again” hat and hugging President Trump during the team’s visit to the White House.

Here’s a sample of other reactions:

• Matthew Paras can be reached at mparas@washingtontimes.com.

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