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Former Detroit Tigers outfielder Andy Dirks went on a 12-minute rant on Facebook late Wednesday night, calling on white Americans to "wake up" amid this era of social unrest which over the last week has led to dozens of protests and riots in cities throughout the country, including Detroit.

The heavily attended protests, some which have been peaceful and others which have led to violence, looting and clashes between police and demonstrators, are in response to the death of Minneapolis resident George Floyd, a black man, at the hands of four police officers, all of whom now face charges.

Dirks, 34, played for the Tigers from 2011-13 and now is a realtor in the area.

"All right, white people, it's time to wake up, especially you, white conservative, right-wing, gun-toting, Christian man in America," Dirks said at the beginning of the video. "That's what I am. Enough is enough.

"Look at yourself right now, put your pride down. Stop. It's crazy. I don't know you're scared of. Why does a black man, if he wants to better his situation, have to change everything about himself? He can't listen to the music he likes, he can't drive the vehicle he likes, he can't dress the way he likes. ... Me, as a white man from Kansas coming here ... I can still do me, be happy ... I can be Andy and still be treated equally. ...

"There's people being oppressed, black people in America."

All four major professional sports teams in Detroit, plus Detroit City FC, have put out statements in response to Floyd's death and the ensuing uprising in America, as well as several high-profile coaches in the state.

Dirks' comments have been some of the strongest we've seen, at least locally.

Dirks resides in Clarkston, and drives a dented-up Dodge Ram truck. In his video, he said he drives that to listings, but if a black realtor did the same, he wouldn't get the listing.

"I hope we can see this. I can give example after example of white privilege," Dirks said. "You've gotta listen. You can try to defend yourself all you want. You're just stubborn. We're all stubborn.

"This is not good. This is not good, guys. 

"I love cops. OK, you have can friends who are cops, and you can still say there are cops that are oppressing black people. It's not about trying to defend your white friend who is a racist. Stop."

This is for all the white conservative men out there. It’s time to lay down the pride and look seriously at what black men in this country are dealing with. I can only speak to what is clear to see from an outside prospective which I’m afraid is only scratching the surface of what these men are actually going through on a daily basis.

Posted by Andy Dirks on Wednesday, June 3, 2020

There have been several nights of demonstrations in downtown Detroit, some turning ugly with classes between police and citizens. Tear-gas has been deployed, and dozens of arrests have been made.

Other cities in Michigan have seen violence, too, including the destruction and torching of police cars and the breaking of business' windows in Grand Rapids.

The Floyd death is the latest in a series of high-profile examples of police brutality in recent years, including Eric Garner in New York and Michael Brown in Missouri.

"If you're a Christian, you should be wanting to fight evil," said Dirks, who during the video almost accidentally shared his address when telling viewers he'd be happy to "walk you through" the situation. "And this is evil what is happening.

"If you're still trying to defend your position of there's no racism, black people aren't oppressed, there's no white privilege, cops aren't doing bad things to black people, you need to be educated.

"Something needs to happen. This is true. This is happening."

tpaul@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @tonypaul1984

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