Oakland A’s catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first Major League Baseball player to kneel for the national anthem in open protest ahead of Oakland’s home game against the Texas Rangers.
Maxwell, who is African-American and comes from a military family, chose to kneel with his hand on his heart while facing the flag in solidarity with the NFL players who continue to protest racism and inequalities in America.
Major League Baseball issued the following statement on the matter:
“Major League Baseball has a longstanding tradition of honoring our nation prior to the start of our games. We also respect that each of our players is an individual with his own background, perspectives and opinions. We believe that our game will continue to bring our fans, their communities and our players together.”
Earlier Saturday, Maxwell posted on Twitter following a series of comments from president Donald Trump that called for the firing of NFL players who chose to protest the national anthem. On Friday night, Trump referred to such players as “sons of b****es” in a public forum while addressing a crowd.
The A’s issued a statement in support, as well.
Maxwell’s teammate Mark Canha placed his hand on his shoulder in support as Maxwell protested.
Maxwell, 26, was born in Germany, where his father was stationed with the army.