Major League Baseball, the sport of Jackie Robinson and long ago a touchstone of civil rights, saw its first athlete join the movement started by Colin Kaepernick and inflamed this weekend by President Trump.
Oakland Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell, who hinted at such an action earlier in the day, knelt during the national anthem before Saturday night’s game against the Texas Rangers.
Maxwell, a 26-year-old catcher from Alabama, composed several tweets Saturday in the wake of President Trump’s comments Friday night to “fire the sons of (expletives)” in the NFL who kneeled for the anthem. Kaepernick’s protest was conceived in the wake of social injustices and the shooting of unarmed African Americans by law enforcement.
Maxwell’s tweets Saturday made it clear that Trump’s verbiage took the movement to another level: “This now has gone from just a BlackLives Matter topic to just complete inequality of any man or woman that wants to stand for Their rights!”
In a profane Instagram post, he implored “every single NFL player” to kneel on Sunday, and then he followed up his words with actions before Saturday night’s game in Oakland.
There was immediate support from his organization. Teammate Mark Canha kept a hand on Maxwell’s shoulder as he engaged in his protest as the anthem played. And the A’s sent out a message of support moments after it occurred.
Maxwell has played in 104 career games and has a lifetime .256 batting average. He entered the season as the A’s 10th-best prospect, according to Baseball America.
Maxwell, like Kaepernick an African American of mixed race, was born in Germany while his father was stationed there in the Army.
He was raised in Alabama, site of Trump’s Friday night speech during which the president blasted NFL players for kneeling during the anthem and also…