Blue Jays’ Manoah wins $100,000 charity sponsorship for Kirk’s defense

After defending his teammate following an online bullying attack, Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Alek Manoah received Dove Men+Care’s first « sportsmanship sponsorship ».

The sponsorship, which will be officially awarded to Manoah ahead of Tuesday’s game against the New York Yankees at Rogers Center, comes with $100,000 proceeds to be donated to charity.

The act of sportsmanship in question was posted on social media during an interaction between Manoah and TSN Montreal radio host Matthew Ross on Sept. 14, after Ross made a negative comment about the catcher’s weight. of the Blue Jays Alejandro Kirk. Bell Media is the parent company of TSN and CTV.

« It’s cute and all, but it’s also embarrassing for the sport. Giving guys like that prominence fuels negative stereotypes, » Ross wrote in a now-deleted tweet in response to a video of Kirk running. of the first home plate published by the Toronto Blue Jays.

Manoah was quick to come to his teammate’s defence, tweeting at Ross: « What’s really embarrassing for the sport is people named Matthew who have never played a day in the leagues majors thinking they can control the narrative and stereotypes. Go ahead and tell that 8 year old kid who is 10 pounds overweight that he should stop now.

« Just step away from the keyboard and let [Kirk] inspire these kids to keep chasing their dreams and chasing greatness,” he added shortly after.

After some back and forth between Manoah and Ross, Ross finally deleted his tweets and his Twitter account. A few days later, he posted an apology on his podcast’s social media accounts.

« I want to sincerely apologize to Alejandro Kirk, Alek Manoah, Toronto Blue Jays, Jays fans and anyone else offended by my initial tweet, » he said.

“The words were harsh. The feeling was off limits and I deeply regret it. Period. »

In an interview with CTV News Toronto on Tuesday, Manoah said he meant what he said « from the bottom of his heart. »

« There are a lot of trolls out there, » Manoah said. « But the biggest thing I saw with this negative tweet was that it was from a verified account. [..] He obviously has a voice that people listen to and I disagreed with how he used his platform to bring negativity to one of our players.

Manoah praised Kirk, saying he « plays and works so hard ».

« He’s a great teammate and inspires a lot of people to want to be great. »

Of Kirk and Manoah’s relationship, Manoah said they were close « on and off the court ».

« My bond with him is quite close and we both know that, » he said. « We don’t even really need to talk about it much. He knows I’ve got his back no matter what, I know he’s got my chance no matter what – he’ll always be my brother. »

Toronto Blue Jays wide receiver Alejandro Kirk can be seen above. (Abby O’Brien/CTV News Toronto)

After being told he was the recipient of Dove Men+Care’s first « sportsmanship sponsorship », Manoah decided he would donate the proceeds to KidsSport.

« KidsSports is an organization that keeps the next generation of players playing – they come from different backgrounds, they’re not all stereotypical athletes, » he said.

« It’s very difficult to get to this stage [in the MLB]so why are we going to throw additional negative connotations on children when it’s hard enough? »

When asked what he hopes fans will take away from all of this, Manoah said he hopes they never let negativity hold them back.

« Keep following your dreams no matter what, » he said.

« There will be a lot of negative people, a lot of people trying to put you down, but keep following your dreams and working hard, as long as you love what you’re doing. »


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