WASHINGTON — Just before taking the field on Tuesday, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts checked the news to see what was happening around the country. Just seconds in, his heart grew heavy.
Earlier that day, 19 children and two adults were killed in a mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. An 18-year-old gunman was responsible for the deadliest shooting at a U.S. grade school since a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., in 2012.
The shooting in Texas came just 10 days after another gunman killed 10 Black shoppers and workers in a racist attack on a supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y. Just as Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr did on Tuesday, Roberts, who grew up in a military family, wanted to express his frustration and pain following yet another mass shooting.
“I was raised to stay in my lane,” Roberts said. “But to have parents afraid to send their kids to schools, kids afraid to go to school for their health and well-being, it’s just sad beyond measure. There are two teachers that lost their lives and they have kids. You talk about eight-year-olds, nine-year-olds, that won’t have an opportunity to live life. A good friend of mine, Steve Kerr, was very emotional yesterday during the Western Conference Finals and showing and saying what is most important, and that’s lives. What are we going to do about it?
“Like everyone has said, enough is enough. When is enough? Enough. … I apologize for not just talking about Dodger baseball, but who is to say that something can’t happen at a ballpark? We gotta all be careful and we have to be proactive and do what is right. Right is right.”
Roberts and the rest of the Dodgers stood out on the field before Tuesday’s game as a moment of silence happened at Nationals Park. The American flag in left field was flying at half staff following the tragedy. The Dodgers’ manager said it was “ironic” that he was sitting in a dugout talking about these issues at the nation’s capital, and he urged decision makers to come to an agreement that would make such tragedies less likely.
“There’s so much negativity and things that people sound off on, but right is right. And not being able to do background checks on people to carry automatic weapons, I just don’t see the other side,” Roberts said. “Getting a driver’s permit, a job, 25 years to get a car, but to be able to go in and buy an automatic weapon, that’s very scary, and the numbers don’t lie. … How there can’t be a bipartisan consensus on an issue like this, it’s very disheartening [and] it’s very irresponsible by our nation’s leaders. Something needs to be done.”
Dodgers superstar Mookie Betts also took to social media to express his condolences and anger following the tragic events. Gavin Lux and some other members of the Dodgers, including wives and support staff, expressed the same.
“I’m still trying to understand why 2 weeks ago 10 ppl were killed in a Buffalo grocery store [and] today 18 children and 1 adult were killed at an elementary school in Texas,” Betts tweeted. “As a parent, I’m heartbroken! Gun Laws must be changed. Mental Illness is real! This is not ok #WeAreTired.”