Just before Saturday's game against the Texas Rangers at the Oakland Coliseum, Oakland A's catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first player in major league baseball to take a knee during the national anthem something he decided to do in direct response to President Trump on Saturday calling for NFL players to be fired if they did the same.
As SFGate reports, Maxwell's decision to give this show of protest had been taking shape over a long time, and he says it was influenced by racism he grew up encountering in Huntsville, Alabama which happens to be where Trump was making his speech on Saturday. "The only way we can come together is by informing," Maxwell says. "To single out NFL players for doing this isn’t something we should be doing I felt it should be a little more broad."
"The point of my kneeling was not to disrespect our military or our constitution or our country,” Maxwell said in his statement to SFGate. “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 continues 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.”
Maxwell posted a couple of tweets prior to Saturday's game, as well.
Inequality is being displayed bigger than ever right now as our president shows that freeedom of protest and speech is not allowed..— Bruce T Maxwell (@bruu_truu13) September 23, 2017
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!— Bruce T Maxwell (@bruu_truu13) September 23, 2017
Also in response to the President's statements, NFL players across the country were showing their protests as well, some locking arms in solidarity while standing for the anthem, with others kneeling and some members of the Miami Dolphins were wearing t-shirts that said "I'm With Kap," in reference to former 49er Colin Kaepernick's kneeling protest of last season.
As the Associated Press reports, at least 100 NFL players were protesting the President's statements Sunday, with one team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, choosing to stay in the locker room for the anthem.