Marlins’ Sharp gets support from Jeter, Miami executives to speak up about racial justice

Tribune Content Agency

Miami Marlins Sterling Sharp hasn’t stepped on the mound at the Major League level yet, but he is making his voice heard.

And his platform has never been more important than these past few weeks.

There’s social unrest around the globe following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, on May 25 after a Minneapolis police officer drove a knee into Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds while he was face down on the ground.

Sharp, a 25-year-old Black pitcher from Detroit who the Marlins took in the Rule 5 draft in December, wasn’t going to stand idle while there was a need for social activism and while protests were going on throughout the country.

The Marlins organization, led by a Black CEO in Derek Jeter and a Black president of baseball operations in Michael Hill, didn’t want him to stand idle either.

Jeter, who put out a statement of his own on June 1 calling for “racial hatred to end,” held a Zoom meeting with the team saying players’ voices weren’t going to be restricted as the Black Lives Matter movement continues to unfold.

It “was kind of a reassurance that they won’t hold our voices down and they encourage us to speak up and use our platform,” Sharp explained on MLB’s “Being Black in Baseball and America” roundtable this week that was moderated by MLB Network’s Harold Reynolds and also included Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Josh Bell, Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Jon Duplantier and Jackie Robinson’s daughter Sharon Robinson. “ … It’s just a really good feeling knowing that we have guys at the top looking out for us and encouraging us to use our voice and our platform.”

The 25-year-old wasted little time doing just that. On May 29, he posted a photo to Twitter that merely said the phrase “silence is so loud.”

The caption for the tweet: “For my non black ‘friends’ or people that care about me (a black man) … stand up for me and my family, my community, for us” with a black fist emoji at the end.


For the first week following Floyd’s death, Sharp and his fiancee Chloe cried almost every time they talked about it.

“It was just another hurtful video,” Sharp said. “I think it hurt more for the Black community and people that care about this that there was a clear video this time that showed the exact, the whole process. There have been videos before that, but this was just kind of just more in detail you saw a whole thing happened, which I think caused a little bit more uproar in people.”

He also said that he received more calls and texts from white teammates as of late. The thoughts are appreciated, he said, but action goes a lot farther.

So does being direct when having conversations about social injustice.

“Don’t beat around the bush,” Sharp said. “Did you ask like ‘What do you think about the things going on around the world?’ I’d much rather you can just say what it is. You’ve got to touch on the key words: Black, police brutality, murder, I guess, white supremacy. Those are the key things that this is all forming from and I think those are the words that make conversation hard and uncomfortable for white people.

“That’s what I’ve been encouraging them to decide. If we’re gonna talk about I want to talk about it. Don’t try to walk around and be nice if we got to have uncomfortable conversations to get anywhere.”


Sharp has been doing his part since he was drafted in the 22nd round by the Washington Nationals.

A sinkerball pitcher who thrives on inducing weak contact, Sharp set up a fund called “Groundouts for Kids” that provides scholarships to African American youth baseball players in the Detroit area. He raised $3,000 last year as a minor-leaguer.

One month after the Marlins took him as a Rule 5 pick and two weeks before he stepped on a mound for spring training, Sharp was already out in the South Florida community. He took part in the Opening Day ceremonies for both the Miracle League of Miami and North Miami Beach Little League. He interacted with fans, signed autographs and caught the ceremonial first pitch at North Miami Beach from one of the league’s players.

“I love being out on the field, especially with kids and seeing their faces light up when a guy of our stature comes out here,” Sharp said. “I know they appreciate having us come out and show them the ropes.

“I’m the new guy. You have to make yourself be known.”


Sharp saw action from executives in the Marlins organization on March 10 as the MLB Draft was getting underway.

Hill, the Marlins president of baseball operations, held a placard front and center when the broadcasts panned into his home office during the virtual draft. The same thing took place with the other 29 league executives featured.

Six words on top of a baseball: Black Lives Matter. United For Change.

The 30 executives also announced a combined donation of $311,000 to five charities that support and fight racial justice: the NAACP Legal Defense Fund; the Equal Justice Initiative; Color for Change; Campaign Zero; and the Jackie Robinson Foundation. MLB is matching that donation.

Hill, one of two Black heads of baseball operations in the league (the other is the Chicago White Sox’s Ken Williams), hopes what MLB did those two days is just the start of something long-term.

“We talk so much of how things die out in our society. It has the limelight for a minute and then it gets swept under the rug,” Hill told The Athletic. “That’s why it’s so important to all of us that this is just the start. This is not something we can let die. We want to make sure there is reform, and there is change. And we wanted to show we were united to elicit change.”


©2020 Miami Herald

Visit Miami Herald at

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.