NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 08: LaTroy Hawkins #32 of the New York Mets fields the ball for the final out of a game against the Colorado Rockies at Citi Field on August 8, 2013 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets defeated the Rockies 2-1. MLB
(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Former New York Met and Yankee LaTroy Hawkins joined a number of former MLB players to have a conversation on race in baseball.

LaTroy Hawkins pitched for 21 years in MLB, including years with the New York Mets and New York Yankees. Hawkins has always been regarded as a clubhouse leader and a standup veteran. A number of Mets pitchers including Jeurys Familia and former Met Hansel Robles credit Hawkins with mentoring them during the 2013 season.

Now a special assistant for the Minnesota Twins, Hawkins is ready to talk about race in baseball telling Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, “We never wanted to be a distraction in the clubhouse by talking about social injustice. But once you get away from it, you’ve got a responsibility to yourself and your family to speak out and bring awareness.”

Hawkins brings up a number of points in the conversation. One of the most prominent is the fate of Bruce Maxwell.

“We didn’t even mention Bruce Maxwell. He’s completely out of the game, playing in Mexico. He’s the only major-league player who took a knee,” Hawkins said.

Maxwell was a white German-born player. He played catcher for the Oakland Athletics from 2016-2018. Maxwell took a knee in 2017 — the only MLB player to do so. He was also known for social activism off the field. Since then, Maxwell says his playing time dwindled before being cut. He’s now playing for Acereros de Monclova in the Mexican League.

Maybe the most chilling part of the conversation is when Hawkins discusses his relationship with the local police when he was a player.

“Every city I played in, I always immersed myself into the police department just so they could see my face, get to know me and what type of person I am and understand that I am not a threat,” Hawkins explained. “I did that here in Prosper (Texas). I had the guys come over, asked them who their favorite baseball players were. Nolan Ryan? Well, I’ve got a Nolan Ryan ball, here you go. I did the same thing with the fire department, just so they understood that I’m not a threat. I’m on your side. I understand you’ve got a very tough job to do. Every day.”

NYY

NYM

NYG

NYJ

NYK

BKN

NYR

NYI

NJD

SJU