OAKLAND, Calif. — They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but one very powerful image from Thursday's Texas Rangers-Oakland Athletics game only needed two.
The Rangers' starting pitcher, Martin Pérez, inscribed the tribute to the Uvalde shooting victims above the brim on his hat as he prepared for his appearance. Perez pitched seven innings in the matchup, but before the game started, Associated Press photographer Darren Yamashita captured this moment of Pérez walking to the dugout with his head bowed:
At least 21 people, including 19 children, were killed Tuesday in what is now considered the deadliest school shooting in Texas history.
Pérez spoke on his inspiration to write the note for Uvalde after the Rangers'4-1 win on Thursday. He used his platform to speak up, calling on change.
“It’s time for the government to do something,” said Pérez, who has children of his own. “It’s happening over and over and over and nobody is doing anything. It’s only happening in this country. In my country, growing up in Venezuela, it’s not a safe country. Then to come here and feel that way too, scared, … it’s really bad. What happened to those kids is bad and we feel that. Every time I went out there I said, ‘This is for the city.’”
Pérez comes as the latest of many prominent sports figures to utilize their platform to speak out against gun violence. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr gave an impassioned speech before Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals in Dallas, which just over 350 miles away from Uvalde.
The New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays, who played each other on Thursday as well, collaborated in an effort to use their platforms during the game to highlight gun violence statistics in lieu of game coverage.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.