Chicago Cubs pitcher Marcus Stroman does not shy away from sharing his thoughts.
Stroman, a fixture on Twitter with more than 513,000 followers, fervently voices his opinions and beliefs. So when the Supreme Court controversially overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade case Friday morning, Stroman publicly expressed his feelings.
On Saturday, about 24 hours after the Supreme Court’s decision, Stroman tweeted:
“The strength of our women is unmatched. We must protect them all at costs. Unimaginable to see their rights taken away. Men should never be allowed to make laws about women’s bodies. Those of you who disagree need to realize you’re a direct part of the problem. Change is needed!”
Between Friday morning and Tuesday evening, Stroman shared about 18 retweets on his timeline relating to Roe v. Wade being overturned. Among them were thoughts from NBA star Kyrie Irving and former Cy Young Award winner David Price.
“I was gutted when that decision came out,” Stroman told the Tribune on Tuesday. “So, yeah, I’m siding with the females and the ones out there who truly believe that we should never be in the position to take away any types of rights from females.
“It’s their body, it’s their choice until the day I die. That’s how I’ll always believe.”
Stroman believes supporting Roe v. Wade, abortion rights and, by extension, human rights is “common sense and how everyone should think, but unfortunately it’s not.” He mentioned important women in his life — including his mother, his personal trainer and his chef — and the strength he sees from them.
Stroman’s comments are notable. He is one of only a few male professional athletes to publicly criticize the Supreme Court’s ruling and its societal impact, and the 31-year-old plays a sport that tends to skew more conservative within clubhouses. Stroman said his tweets did not elicit any reaction from his Cubs teammates or spark conversations.
“My personal opinion on it is we fall into some really tricky areas when you start telling people what to do with their bodies, right?” manager David Ross told the Tribune. “I’m definitely not the person that makes all these political stances, but I do feel pretty strongly that guys that have a platform like Stro and use that to voice their opinion and the things that are important to them, I think that’s great.”
White Sox closer Liam Hendriks also spoke out publicly after the Roe reversal.
“Obviously, today is a terrible, terrible day for women’s rights,” Hendriks said Friday on WSCR-AM 670’s “Parkins & Spiegel Show.” “I mean, what’s next? Are they going to take voting for women as well now? It’s just something that is absurd in the fact that they thought that this is their thing.
“If this had anything to do with men, there’d be no chance that this would be overturned. And that’s something that’s disgraceful in this day and age.”
Instead of clubhouse conversations, Stroman has talked with his family and those close to him but “not many baseball individuals.” Stroman, who did not want to call out specific people, recalled being told in the past by front-office personnel to get off Twitter and stop sharing his opinions.
“I suppose it’s the slowest sport when it comes to change, and when it comes to speaking out against any inequalities, baseball’s usually very, very, very slow,” Stroman said. “That’s why I said I’m always going to put my piece out. I don’t care how baseball is going to handle it.”
Stroman would like to see other male athletes speak up; however, he thinks a lot are afraid to be vocal.
“The reactions to my tweet are not going to change how I live life or change my happiness,” Stroman said. “I know there are a lot of people out there who are pretty affected by this and who are damaged by this decision. I‘m always going to be someone who stands up for females, who stands up for inequalities, who stands up for those people who don’t get treated right in America because I’m a minority, so I fall into that category as well.”
Stroman can understand why some male athletes could be hesitant. In the first year or two of his major-league career, Stroman, now in his ninth season, acknowledges he might not have felt as comfortable speaking out — “unfortunately,” he noted.
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“Before you get to your free agency, you don’t want to do anything that will kind of push you the wrong way, which is terrible to even say, but it’s like that in baseball,” Stroman said.
Stroman understands the faith-based anti-abortion perspective, stating he has the utmost respect for anybody who is religious. While everybody is entitled to their opinion, Stroman said, that shouldn’t mean people can impose their religious beliefs on others and dictate how someone lives their life.
“It’s their body, their choice,” Stroman said. “I think that’s the only way people should view it, but in America that’s not even close to a common reaction.”
Amid the expected angry responses to his tweets, Stroman said he has received countless messages from women worldwide, and even some men, thanking him for speaking up.
As an African American/Puerto Rican star in Major League Baseball, Stroman occupies a rare space. He hopes his voice can amplify and support those who need it.
“When it comes to how I think and how I process things, I’m a minority. The things that I’ve been through, I see life from a whole different angle,” Stroman said. “No matter what way you go with, there’s going to be people to bash you. You just have to be greater than that and stronger than that and realize that I’m speaking out confidently in how I actually believe in things and what I truly believe in.
“I would hope that at some point this world would start to change towards it, but I truly feel like we’re going backwards.”