Bruce Maxwell, a rookie catcher, became the first athlete to protest during the national anthem in a Major League Baseball game Saturday.
Who is Bruce Maxwell?
Maxwell is the son of a U.S. military veteran, and was born on a military base. He plays for the Oakland Athletics.
Why did he do it?
Maxwell spoke to the San Francisco Chronicle to explain his actions.
“The point of my kneeling was not to disrespect our military or our constitution or our country,” Maxwell said. “My hand was over my heart because I love this country and I have family members, including my father, who bled for this country, and who continue to serve. At the end of the day, this is the best country on the planet. I am and forever will be an American citizen and grateful to be here, but my kneeling is what’s getting the attention, and I’m kneeling for the people who don’t have a voice.
“This goes beyond the black and Hispanic communities because right now we have a racial divide that’s being practiced from the highest power we have in this country saying it’s basically OK to treat people differently. I’m kneeling for a cause but I’m in no way disrespecting my country or my flag.”
What did the Athletics team do about this?
The Athletics official Twitter account posted a message of support for Maxwell after his actions.
— Oakland Athletics 🌳🐘⚾️ (@Athletics) September 24, 2017
“The Oakland A’s pride ourselves on being inclusive,” read the statement. “We respect and support all our players’ constitutional rights and freedom of expression.”
What was the reaction like?
Some, like black activist Shaun King, applauded the move:
Bruce Maxwell, son of an Army Vet, born on a military base, just became the first MLB player to take a knee during the National Anthem pic.twitter.com/FSVWTkRe8X
— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) September 24, 2017
Respect for Bruce Maxwell because:
1) He's a rookie
2) There are only 64 black players in MLB
3) He is now vulnerable
4) Did it anyway
— Full Dissident (@hbryant42) September 24, 2017
Bruce Maxwell. Remember that name. Of all the veteran black players in @MLB, a dude who has played in 104 career games, stepped up.
— Jay Scott Smith (@JayScottSmith) September 24, 2017
But others, not surprisingly, felt it was unnecessary and insulting:
Is that all Maxwell did?
No. Earlier in the day, he took to his Instagram account and explicitly denounced President Donald Trump for http://www.theblaze.com/news/2017/09/22/trump-addresses-nfl-national-anthem-protesters-and-gets-explicit/his comments about the protests Friday.
“Yeah f**k this guy!” he wrote. “Our president speaks of inequality of man because players are protesting the anthem! F**k this man! Seriously on the highest platform for our country expressing that it is OK for there to be Division [sic] of man and rights!”