First Major League Baseball player takes knee for national anthem

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Rookie catcher for the Oakland Athletics, Bruce Maxwell, has become the first player from Major League Baseball to kneel for the national anthem before a game.

Maxwell placed a hand over his heart and kneeled for the national anthem before the A’s 1-0 victory at the Coliseum on Saturday, after bashing the President in a lengthy Instagram post before the game.

President Trump said at a speech in Alabama Saturday that players who kneel for the national anthem should be punished by their leagues.

Maxwell says he’s been planning to kneel for a while.

“My decision had been coming for a long time,” Maxwell said, citing his own experiences with racism while growing up in Huntsville, Ala., which is where Trump on Friday made disparaging comments about NFL players who choose to kneel for the anthem. “The only way we can come together is by informing. … To single out NFL players for doing this isn’t something we should be doing — I felt it should be a little more broad.”

His teammates have been supportive thus far.

“He’s very courageous,” said A’s outfielder Khris Davis, who hit his 40th homer Saturday. “I respect his decision, he’s just exercising his rights as an American.”

From a military family, Maxwell says his decision has nothing to do with our troops, the constitution or the country has a role. It is meant to be a recognition that treating people differently because of race isn’t ok.

“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.”

Saturday morning, Maxwell, who is African American, posted a tweet from Andrew Steinthal that suggested that all NFL players should kneel for the anthem Sunday. Below the post, Maxwell added in a comment, “Yeah, f— this guy! Our president speaks of inequality of man because players are protesting the anthem! F— this man! Seriously on the highest platform for our country expressing that it is OK for there to be division of man and rights!”

See photos at SF GATE

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