Yasiel Puig opens up on racial discrimination: 'I will raise my voice and demand necessary change'

Mark Townsend
Yahoo Sports Contributor

Yasiel Puig is raising his voice to speak out against racial discrimination.

After refraining from sharing his own experiences with racial discrimination in the past, the free-agent outfielder opened up for the first time in a Twitter post that also marked the seven-year anniversary of his MLB debut with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Puig’s powerful words come at a time when all 50 states are protesting against police brutality following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who was killed by a white Minneapolis police officer. The Cuban-born slugger notes that he didn’t have the freedom to protest in his homeland, but now as an American citizen he’s exercising that right.

Here is his full statement:

“Seven years ago today, I played for the very first time on a Major League Field. I fought so hard to get here, America was a dream. Today, as I look back on that memory, and take account of everything that I have lived through since then, I want to speak up for the very first time about my personal experiences as a man of color.”

“I came from a country where I could not speak up, we could not express our thoughts and protests were and are a punishable act. I want my black brothers and sisters to know that although I have had the privilege of playing on a national state, that privilege has not prevented me from feeling the sting of being an Afro-Latino man. My privilege has not afforded me the total escape others have preconceived notions about me based on the color of my skin.”

“Today, 7 years later, now a proud American Citizen, I will raise my voice and demand the necessary change. It is time that everyone is treated with the respect that all human beings deserve. Black, brown, yellow or white – our hearts are what matter. Let’s keep taking these steps forward and give to our children the beautiful future they deserve.”

Puig’s journey to the United States was not an easy one. Beginning in 2009, he tried to defect from Cuba to Mexico 13 times in order to become a legal resident and therefore eligible to sign an MLB contract. Even after his arrival, he received death threats from smugglers who had arranged a deal to take 20 percent of his MLB earnings.

That breath-taking story we’ve all heard. This statement adds new perspective to Puig’s journey and a deeper understanding of who the man is and the challenges he’s faced.

Puig might not have a team right now, but he does have a voice that will always garner attention. We’re happy that voice is being used.

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