On Saturday night in Oakland, A's catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first MLB player to kneel in protest during the playing of the national anthem. In doing so, Maxwell joins a movement revived by Colin Kaepernick during his time with the NFL's San Francisco 49ers. Here's a look:
From the @sfchronicle’s Santiago Mejia, here is A’s rookie Bruce Maxwell becoming the first MLB player to take a knee for the anthem: pic.twitter.com/q8QVY9hW15— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) September 24, 2017
The ongoing protests across sports, which began with Kaepernick as a symbol of opposition to racism and police brutality, have been a part of the national consciousness for some time. Recently, though, President Trump's call for NFL owners to "fire" players who kneel or sit for the anthem has sharpened that focus. Indeed, Maxwell earlier on Saturday implied that he might take part in the protest for that very reason:
Don't be surprised if you start seeing athletes kneeling in other sports now!! Comments like that coming from our president. WOW! ✊🏽✊🏽✊🏽— Bruce T Maxwell (@bruu_truu13) September 23, 2017
Via Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, some necessary context for Maxwell's decision:
Maxwell was born in Wiesbaden, Germany, when his father, who also is named Bruce, was stationed there with the Army. The younger Maxwell is highly patriotic - he took great pride in the July 4 uniforms and catcher's gear he received this year - so his decision to kneel appears to be entirely in opposition to Trump's comments and in solidarity with the NFL players who have taken a knee for the anthem.
In response to Maxwell's kneeling, the A's released the following statement via Twitter:
September 24, 2017
"The Oakland A's pride ourselves on being inclusive. We respect and support all of our players' constitutional rights and freedom of expression."
If recent history is any guide, Maxwell is MLB's first, but he won't be the last.