Reds pitcher steps up to plate for Native Americans during pandemic

“There’s a lot of problems native people have to face that most people today wouldn’t even be aware of.”

Reds pitcher advocating to Navajo people hit hard by COVID-19

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - A Reds player is staying busy during spring training by advocating for the health and wellbeing of Native Americans during the pandemic.

According to the CDC, Native Americans face the highest hospitalization rate of COVID-19 of any race or ethnicity in the country.

Brandon Bailey discovered that from watching the news earlier this year. Coming from an indigenous family, he says he knew he had to do something to help.

“Obviously I’m really proud of my Native American heritage,” Bailey said. “I come from the Chickasaw Nation.”

Bailey, who had Tommy John Surgery last month, was quarantining in Arizona when he saw how hard the Navajo Nation had been hit by the pandemic.

“It just really hit home to me,” he said. “There’s a lot of problems native people have to face that most people today wouldn’t even be aware of.”

Bailey called his agent to see what he could do. The agency put him in contact with Project HOPE, an organization that’s been providing medical assistance to Native Americans during COVID-19.

The Reds pitcher then made a video spreading awareness and encouraging others to donate to the project.

“I wanted to make sure people knew that they were being seen, being heard,” he said. “Even if it was just something super small, like posting about it on my social media and making a donation, it was the least I could do to try and help.”

Bailey’s relationship with the organization is new, so he’s still working on what he can do.

He says he hopes to go out to a reservation to talk with people and pass out PPE or play some baseball when he can.

“Anything you can do to try and get involved and learn about history,” he said, “because if you forget history, it tends to repeat itself.”

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