Chicago White Sox closer Liam Hendriks isn't one to hide his emotions – on or off the baseball diamond.
After six people in the nearby suburb of Highland Park were shot and killed while attending a July 4 celebration only hours before the White Sox took the field for their game against the Minnesota Twins, Hendriks was overcome with anger and frustration.
"Unfortunately, in this day and age, it’s becoming all too commonplace," he told reporters. "I think the access to the weaponry that is being kind of used in these things is ... Something needs to change. Something needs to be done.
"Too many people are dying and it’s no excuse to say, 'I’m on this side or that side,'" he continued. "At some point, things need to get done or else it’s getting to the point where civilization as you know it may be ending just to the fact there’s two drastically different sides. Something needs to change. Something needs to happen, and it needs to happen quick."
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— Slavko Bekovic (@SBekovic) July 4, 2022
HIGHLAND PARK SHOOTING LIVE UPDATES: Mayor says gun was legally obtained; fear of shootings incites panic in other cities
Following Monday's tragic shooting, the White Sox considered postponing their game against the Minnesota Twins. But after consulting with MLB officials, the game went on as scheduled – though the postgame fireworks display afterward was canceled.
Hendriks – who had a T-shirt with the words "Stars & Stripes & Reproductive Rights" hanging in his locker after Monday's game – has become a prominent figure among MLB players recently for his willingness to speak out on social issues.
In May, he strongly criticized New York Yankees third baseman Josh Donaldson for calling White Sox teammate Tim Anderson – who is Black – "Jackie," in reference to Jackie Robinson.
And then last month he told The Athletic that in choosing where he was going to sign as a free agent, he made sure to ask teams if they had a Pride Night on their schedule to support the LGBTQ+ community.
Hendriks, 33, is a two-time All-Star who led the American League in saves last season with 38. He returned to action on Monday after spending nearly three weeks on the injured list with a forearm strain.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Liam Hendriks calls for changes in gun laws following July 4 shooting