David Bell supports four Reds who kneeled during national anthem

Cincinnati Reds' Phillip Ervin, left, Joey Votto, left middle, Amir Garrett, middle, and Alex Blandino, right, kneel during the national anthem prior to an exhibition baseball game against the Detroit Tigers at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, Tuesday, July 21, 2020. (AP Photo/Aaron Doster)
Cincinnati Reds' Phillip Ervin, left, Joey Votto, left middle, Amir Garrett, middle, and Alex Blandino, right, kneel during the national anthem prior to an exhibition baseball game against the Detroit Tigers at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, Tuesday, July 21, 2020. (AP Photo/Aaron Doster)

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Garrett: 'My intentions today were based solely on wanting change'

Cincinnati Reds manager David Bell stood near four players who knelt during the national anthem Tuesday before an exhibition game against the Detroit Tigers at Great American Ball Park.

Bell did not know the players would kneel but supported the actions of Amir Garrett, Joey Votto, Phil Ervin and Alex Blandino. The organization supported them, too, sharing a photo on Twitter of the moment with a one-word caption, “Unity,” followed the hashtag: #BlackLivesMatter.

“The way I see it with our players because I know them so well,” Bell said, “is whether they were standing or kneeling, it was all out of respect — out of respect for everything that is great and good about our country and the sacrifices and hard work that allow us to be here today. The kneeling also represents how much each individual on this team cares and if there’s anything we can do to change and help us improve and become an even greater country and certainly to stand against anything our country doesn’t stand for, whether that’s racism or anything that’s unfair, that to me is what was represented tonight.”

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Votto has worn a Black Lives Matter T-shirt during workouts at Summer Camp. Garrett has been outspoken on social media and shared a story about his personal experience with racism earlier this month. After the game, Garrett shared a new message on Twitter.

“No matter how you twist this story, my intentions today were based solely on wanting change throughout this country,” Garrett wrote. “I know my thread will be filled with ‘lost fans,' but I’m hopeful for the younger generations to see through the lost message. If I still have your attention, know that I fully support the military. It’s a shame this is shown as a sign of disrespect as the leader of this movement was advised by a veteran to kneel instead of sit. As much as some of you think your opinion on my choices affects me, this isn’t me using my platform to push my political opinion, nor is it to show my support (for) the (Black Lives Matter) organization, which they do not have.”

Big comeback: The Reds showed the power potential of their offense in their first game against outside competition since March. They overcame a 5-0 deficit with five home runs and beat the Detroit Tigers 9-7 on Tuesday in the first of two exhibition games.

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Freddy Galvis hit a two-run home run in the second to cut the deficit to 5-2. Tucker Barnhart hit a solo home run in the third. Shogo Akiyama hit a game-tying three-run home run to center field in the fifth.

Eugenio Suarez hit a two-run home run into the second deck in left field in the eighth inning, giving the Reds an 8-6 lead. In the same inning, Jesse Winker hit a solo home run to left.

Starter struggles: Nick Lodolo, the franchise’s first-round pick in 2019, started the game and allowed five runs in 1 1/3 innings. Despite the short outing, Bell said it was a great night for Lodolo to get the experience of pitching in Cincinnati. Lodolo made eight appearances last season, splitting time between Billings at the rookie level and the Single-A Dayton Dragons.

“The second inning didn’t go as I know he would have like it to,” Bell said, “but it happens to the best of them. He’s going to pitch for a long time, and it’s going to happen to him again. The big thing is he’s going to have a ton of success in his career, and we’re really glad to have him around. He’s just a great young man with a ton of talent, and he’s going to be a big part of our this team for a long time.”