Several MLB players opting out of season over coronavirus concerns
© Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Numerous pro baseball players have announced plans to opt out of the 2020 MLB season due to concerns over the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the protests over police brutality and racism that have engulfed the country.

Colorado Rockies outfielder Ian Desmond wrote in a lengthy post on Instagram that returning to play was a "risk I am not comfortable taking." He went on to address racism, the police killing of George Floyd and other topics including the state of MLB in the message.

"With a pregnant wife and four young children who have lots of questions about what’s going on in the world, home is where I need to be right now," Desmond, who is biracial, added.

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Other players from teams across MLB have also indicated that they will not play this season. Mike Rizzo, general manager for the Washington Nationals, told CNN in a statement that two players on the team, first baseman Ryan Zimmerman and pitcher Joe Ross, would sit, citing concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Ryan Zimmerman and Joe Ross have decided not to participate in the 2020 season for the personal health and safety of themselves and their loved ones," Rizzo said. "We are one hundred percent supportive of their decision to not play this year. We will miss their presence in the clubhouse and their contributions on the field."

Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Mike Leake released a statement through his agent, Danny Horowits, confirming his own decision not to play.

"During this global pandemic, Mike and his family had many discussions about playing this season. They took countless factors into consideration, many of which are personal to him and his family," Horowits told CNN.

The players' decisions come in the week following MLB's announcement that players and owners had agreed to a 60-game season set to begin in July, with a limited form of "spring" training beginning on the first of the month. The games will be held without fans in attendance.

“The health and safety of players and employees will remain MLB’s foremost priorities in its return to play,” the league said. “MLB is working with a variety of public health experts, infectious disease specialists and technology providers on a comprehensive approach that aims to facilitate a safe return.”