Following the trend initiated by a few Major League Baseball clubs over the weekend and echoed by many more franchises throughout the day, the Nationals issued a statement late Tuesday in response to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the charging of police officer Derek Chauvin with third-degree murder and manslaughter, and the protests that have taken place across the country in the aftermath.
The statement was attributed to the Nationals’ Founding Partners Group, which consists of six minority-stake owners of the club, each of them minorities, in conjunction with the Lerner family and “the entire Washington Nationals Organization.”
“On behalf of the Washington Nationals Founding Partners Group, the minority owners of color of the team, we hope for unity and solidarity of our fans, supporters and the DC Metropolitan community at this time,” the statement began. “For generations the game of baseball has brought together men, women and children of all backgrounds, ethnicities and races, including men and women in uniform of every kind. Last year we stood side by side to witness and celebrate a success of ethnic harmony and resolve like no other. The 2019 World Series victory was a living example of cultural diversity blending to support a united goal not just as a team, but as a family.
“As a pillar of the DC community, we see it as essential to build opportunities and offer mentorship programs that serve the next generation, as we have done since 2007 through the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy and Nationals Philanthropies. It is our goal to teach our children the virtues of respect and treating others with decency, humility and kindness. These important values find their way into every home, including ours. And let us emphasize above all, that we do not support brutality or intolerance of any kind.
“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. 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 six members of the Founding Partners Group - Paxton K. Baker, James T. Brown, Alphonso Maldon Jr., B. Doyle Mitchell, Raul R. Romero and Rodney E. Slater - have been part of the club’s ownership since the Lerner family purchased the franchise in 2006. The eight members of the Lerner family - Theodore N. Lerner, Annette M. Lerner, Mark D. Lerner, Judy Lenkin Lerner, Edward L. Cohen, Debra Lerner Cohen, Robert K. Tannenbaum and Marla Lerner Tannenbaum - are considered principal owners, with Mark Lerner replacing his father, Ted Lerner, as managing principal owner in 2018.