April 23, 2018
Yankees players, manager post anti-bullying message
Apr 19, 2018 Coley Harvey ESPN Staff Writer
NEW YORK -- Count the New York Yankees among those determined to stop bullying in schools.
The organization on Wednesday posted a video with an anti-bullying message on its social media accounts. The video featured 24 of its players as well as manager Aaron Boone.
The video, which featured players and manager holding up a series of notecards as music played behind them, was the Yankees' response to a similar video posted by 10-year-old Cassidy Warner. The Scranton, Pennsylvania, fourth-grader has gone viral after media and other celebrities have taken notice of her mission.
"You are not alone!" a message to Warner, held by Aaron Judge, said in the Yankees' video.
"To stand up for something like that, was an easy call for us as an organization, for our players, and hopefully we can make a difference not only in this situation, but across the country," Boone said during a news conference Thursday.
New York's Triple-A affiliate, the RailRiders, plays in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area.
In her original video, Warner shared to Facebook her story of being bulled at her elementary school. She said she had been bullied since she was in the first grade. Bullying during a recess period one day upset her to the point that she decided to post her video.
"The group of kids above came up to me during recess, trying to fight me," Warner's notes said in her video. "They hit me, kicked me, pulled my hair, pushed me, stepped on me, spit on me ...
"Kids don't even want to go near me. Wherever I sit at a lunch table, the kids get up ...
"They threaten to kill me, and they tell me to kill myself ..."
Warner's mother, Jenn Slater, said on a subsequent Facebook posting of the video that Scranton School District officials had threatened her daughter to take down her posting. According to Slater, when the young girl wouldn't remove the posting, school district officials turned the matter over to Facebook, which removed the video because Warner wasn't 13 years old -- the minimum age to have a Facebook account.
Slater said her daughter's original video had about 22,000 views before it was removed. After she reposted the video to her own page April 4, Slater has seen the response explode. As of Thursday afternoon, the second posting of Warner's video had more than 265,000 views.
The Yankees found out about Warner's video last weekend while in Detroit, waiting through a series of games that ultimately got rained out. Vice president of communications and media relations Jason Zillo brought the video to the attention of others in the organization, Boone said.
"To see our guys stand up and have a role in that is not surprising because I know all those guys in that room and the character that they [have]," Boone said. "It was something that we're glad that we could maybe play a small role in helping a bad situation out."
When she saw the Yankees' video, Slater messaged her thanks: "Let's just say I cried!! So much respect for the New York Yankees!! Thank you so much for this!!!"
In addition to Judge's message, the Yankees held notes that contained phrases such as these:
"We know that sharing your story must have been difficult ... But you showed courage ... And strength ... And inspired us to reach out to you ... We may be older than you ... We may be taller than you ... But we want you to know ... That we look up to you ..."
Yankees Didi Gregorius, David Robertson, Greg Bird and Dellin Betances each held up those messages. A series of others held messages that said the team "Got your back" both in English and Spanish.
Center fielder Aaron Hicks' notes told Warner that she was welcome to sit at the Yankees' lunch table in their clubhouse "anytime."
"[We] would love to continue to grow that relationship and maybe we'll get her out to a game and get her to meet some of our guys," Boone said Thursday.
The Yankees' video concluded with Boone sporting the only smile. His message simply said: "See you soon!"