Major League Baseball started its 2020 regular season on Thursday night with a pair of games. First, the New York Yankees and the Washington Nationals squared off in D.C., and then the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers took centerstage in L.A.. Both contests saw players either protest racial inequality and express their support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Dodgers star Mookie Betts was the lone member of L.A. to kneel during the national anthem, and numerous members of the Giants -- manager Gabe Kapler included -- joined Betts before their season opener.
Earlier this week, Kapler became the first big-league skipper to kneel during the national anthem, joining a number of his players.
Former Oakland Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell in 2017 was the first baseball player or personnel to take a knee before or during the anthem. In response to Kapler's gesture, Maxwell told USA Today Sports "there was a lot of joy in my heart honestly, there was a lot of relief."
Maxwell has not played in the majors since 2018. Although he was arrested on a gun and assault charge, his act of peaceful protest was seemingly held against him. An anonymous team executive told the San Francisco Chronicle in 2018 that "It's the kneeling thing that might keep him from getting another job, not the arrest."
Meanwhile, all four teams in action on Thursday night wore "Black Lives Matter" t-shirts in batting practice.
All players and coaches in both games also kneeled prior to the anthem as a video for the Players Coalition played. A public service announcement voiced by actor Morgan Freeman also aired on the video board.
As with every ballpark this weekend, Nationals Park had "BLM" stenciled on the back of the mound, below MLB's logo. Here's a look at that, courtesy of Uni-Watch's Paul Lukas: