Jones addresses comments on social issues

Jones addresses comments on social issues

BOSTON -- Adam Jones said on Monday afternoon that he stands by remarks he made in a USA Today story published earlier in the day, though he acknowledged that one particular phrase might have diverted attention from his broader point.

In the story, Jones addressed protests in the National Football League started by quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who is not standing during the national anthem. Jones said he believes similar protests have not happened in baseball because of the impact it might have on a player's job security. He also defended the right of Kaepernick and others to protest in that manner, and said that an athlete who speaks out on social issues should not be ridiculed for it. But it was Jones' comment that baseball is "a white man's sport" that seemed to garner the most attention.

Jones, who reiterated on Monday that he is from a military family and will continue to stand for the national anthem, said he wanted to use his position to spark a conversation about the inequality Kaepernick is addressing.

"I think the headline might have grabbed the wrong attention early, but I think I elaborated and [said] what I believe to be is what I've seen," said Jones, who grew up in San Diego.

Justice: Jones takes stand with remarks

"I've gotten a lot of love and good responses from around the league, around baseball, around this business that we do," Jones said at Fenway Park. "Other media entities, other media people. Just about, 'I'm glad you spoke the truth.' Is everybody going to agree with what I say? No. Why? Because I'm sticking up for people who don't have the voice.

"Fortunately, I have the voice, I have the reach and I think it was time for it to be said. It [may have been] the wrong time, because we're in Boston at this time, but I don't take anything back. I think that I said it very eloquently and I don't think I showed any disrespect toward anybody or any person."

Jones had reflected privately on the issue and thought that after Sunday's game was the perfect time to talk about what's been going on, regardless of the backlash.

"Here's my biggest thing," Jones said. "Society doesn't mind us helping out the hood and the inner cities, but they have a problem when we speak about the hood and the inner cities. I don't understand it."

Jones is dismayed with the negative way Kaepernick is being viewed around the country.

"He believes in what he believes in,'' Jones told USA Today, "and as a man of faith, as an American who has rights, who am I to say he's wrong?

"Kaepernick is not disrespecting the military. He's not disrespecting people who they're fighting."

Jones reiterated that sentiment on Monday afternoon, saying he hoped his words would help further a conversation in our country about becoming more unified.

"I am using my First Amendment [right] and I'm using it in a respectful manner," Jones said. "I can be a [jerk] with it big-time. But I'm not. I'm using it in a respectful manner. I just hope people educate themselves on the process. This is a long process."

"You guys [in the media] have been around me and seen me evolve as a man, husband, player, father. You know I'm not just speaking out of the side of my neck just because I have a forum. I'm doing it because I understand.

"There's going to be backlash, of course there is. Because people don't like the truth, I just gave the truth."

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.