Sean Doolittle doesn't want the protests in Charlottesville, Va., to define the public's perception of the city or the University of Virginia, where the Washington Nationals reliever spent three years of his life and also played two seasons for its baseball team in 2005 and 2006.
"I hope people not from this area of the country understand that the people that were marching in and around U-Va. and Charlottesville, they're not from there," Doolittle told the Washington Post's Jorge Castillo. "These aren't people that represent the school or the community. This was a rally where people came from other parts of the state, other parts of the region. Because that area, that town, is an incredibly accepting and diverse and embracing community.
"So it's really frustrating that they chose to go there from the outside just to march and spread their hatred. I just found out that somebody died from the car thing today. It's past the point of hearing what they have to say, spreading his kind of hatred. Saying, 'You will not replace us.' ... You aren't the ones at the risk of being quote-unquote replaced by some of this administration's policies. And it's just white fear. It's the worst kind of hatred. It's disgusting."
According to Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Brian M. Rosenthal of the New York Times, white nationalists organized a march Friday night on the university campus that carried over into Saturday, when they were met by counter protesters in the morning. After moving to Emancipation Park, the sides engaged in violent brawls, and a 32-year-old woman later died when a car was driven into a large crowd in the city's downtown area.
Doolittle, who still visits Charlottesville and speaks with the school's baseball coaching staff, according to Castillo, was left distraught by the incidents near his alma mater and hopes the nearby community reacts accordingly.
"This is kind of a litmus test for these people because they come from other areas and they specifically chose this place and they're going to come here to see how the community is going to respond," Doolittle said. "How the state and the country is going to respond and I think it's up to the people there, the people in that community, the people of the U-Va. community, I know they're going to step up and they're not going to let that kind of hatred win. So it's just really sad.”