Chris Archer goes deep on America, race and his dreadlocks

There aren’t many baseball players who would rather sit down for an interview about race, stereotypes and the current state of America than a 20-minute chat about baseball. Count Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Chris Archer as one who would.

He cares about baseball, sure, but he also cares about teen homelessness and making an impact in the community and being well-read and thinking about how the United States can get past what seems like incident after incident of people being seemingly too scared of their differences instead of embracing them.

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“Just because someone is different doesn’t necessarily mean they’re bad,” Archer said to Tim Brown early in their interview for this week’s Yahoo Sports MLB Podcast, and that’s about as close to a mission statement as you’ll find for during the interview.

At one point, Archer is asked about his current views on America — somewhat inspired by the recently released Childish Gambino video “This is America” — and he says:

“Right now, we’re not in the greatest place,” Archer said. “It’s the land of opportunity but sometimes if you were looking at it from strictly an outside perspective — like people from Canada who get our news and people from around the globe who get our news — they would not consider this the land of opportunity. I just think we need to get back to that. I don’t have all the answers, but, I mean, love usually solves everything. We need a lot more of love and less judging, less hate — that stems from a lot of different things. Like I said, I’m not a politician, I don’t have all the answers, I never will — even if I am a politician one day. But we need more love.”

The seventh episode of the Yahoo Sports MLB Podcast was released Tuesday on Apple PodcastsStitcherAcast and other podcast platforms. It includes the Archer interview, as well as a breakdown of MLB’s fantastic 25-and-under class, our debate about Anthony Rizzo’s controversial slide and a conversation about Oregon State pitcher Luke Heimlich, who is approaching next week’s MLB Draft as perhaps the most controversial prospect we’ve seen, considering his molestation conviction as a teenager.

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One way that Archer proudly carries the “Don’t Judge Me For How I Look” card is his hair. He wears dreadlocks. He’s well aware of the stereotypes that come along with that — and in fact, he says, that’s part of why he does it.

“If I walk past somebody’s car in a parking lot, people still lock the doors because I do have dreadlocks and I’m colored,” Archer said. “I’m not saying we shouldn’t be safe, but we shouldn’t be so quick to judge. That’s one of the reasons why I’m proud to wear dreadlocks because I think there’s a negative stereotype that goes along with it a lot of the times and I want to show people that it’s not always a negative stereotype. There’s more to it than just style and fashion and drug dealers and ignorance — I feel like that’s what’s associated with that style of hair a lot of times.”

This is all part of a great interview, which you can hear in its entirety on this week’s episode of the Yahoo Sports MLB Podcast. Once again, you can find the show on Apple PodcastsStitcherAcast and where ever you find podcasts. If you dig what we’re doing, we’d appreciate your ratings and reviews to help the show grow. 

(Getty Images)

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Mike Oz is a writer at Yahoo Sports. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter!

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