Sox's Hendriks speaks on shooting: 'Something needs to happen and it needs to happen quick.'
No topic is too toxic for White Sox closer Liam Hendriks to tackle.
The all-star relief pitcher -- who was activated off the injured list Monday after missing almost a month with a strained right forearm -- has already spoken up in support of the LGBTQ community and he had harsh words when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in late June.
"I stand for what I believe in and I don't necessarily care if people like my opinion or like me for that," Hendriks said. "I like me and that's all I really care about. You have to take care of what you believe in and the more passionate you are about something, the more it will cause change."
With a big game against the Twins Monday night at Guaranteed Rate Field, much of the pregame focus was on the mass shooting in Highland Park earlier in the day and the never-ending gun violence in the United States.
The Sox considered postponing the series opener against Minnesota and issued the following statement:
"Our hearts are with the Highland Park community. The entire Chicago White Sox organization expresses our deepest sympathies to the families and friends of the innocent victims of today's horrific shooting and all of those who have been affected by this tragedy. After consulting with Major League Baseball, tonight's scheduled game against Minnesota will take place at 7:10 p.m. However, the postgame fireworks celebration is canceled. A moment of silence will be held before the start of tonight's game."
Hendriks, who is from Australia, is tired about being silent on the issue.
"I don't think enough is being done," he said. "There are two sides and the two sides need to meet somewhere in the middle and figure this out because too many people are dying and it's no excuse to say 'I'm on this side or that side.'
"It's no excuse. At some point, things need to get done or else it's getting to the point where civilization as you know it may be ending just to the fact there's two drastically different sides. Something needs to change, something needs to happen and it needs to happen quick."
Like many, Hendriks believes it is way too easy to get an assault weapon in the United States.
"It's baffling to me," he said. "That's what America is known for. They are known as the superior, there are a lot of things good over here but ... I can walk into a store as a non-American and buy a handgun in certain states. That baffles me. I had to take a driving test when I was over here. I won't have to take a test if I want to get a gun. That's stupid. Whoever thought that was a great idea is an idiot."
Hendriks said the U.S. should follow Australia's lead to get a handle on one mass shooting after another.
"Australia, we dealt with it as a country back in the day," Hendriks said. "We had a mass shooting and when that mass shooting happened the government came in and they were like, 'Yeah, we can't do this. We are going to do a buy back program. We are going to buy back guns for a fair price.' All of a sudden our suicide rates dropped drastically. Our gun related homicides dropped infinitely and it's something that has pretty much kept on.
"You can get access to guns in Australia, you can go through gun clubs, but there are a lot more stipulations on it and protection isn't a good enough reason to get a gun."
Instead of talking about the White Sox's three-game sweep against the Giants over the weekend in San Francisco or the big three-game series vs. the Twins this week, manager Tony La Russa was asked about gun violence and whether Monday's game should have been played.
"Unfortunately, it's almost daily," La Russa said. "Way too frequently. Even when there's an explanation, there's no explanation, doesn't make sense. There was a conversation with MLB, and they decided that we would play. I think the people who make the decision are very aware of the biggest picture and if they say we should play, we should play."