Bruce Maxwell Becomes the First MLB Player to Take a Knee During the National Anthem

If this past weekend’s game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Jacksonville Jaguars was any indication, NFL players play no games when it comes to showing solidarity for the former 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick. Several players took to their knee during the National Anthem to join Kaep’s peaceful protest effort, utilize their voices and their platforms, and show support to the former athlete. Ray Lewis, who has been vocal about his disagreement with Kaepernick’s protest during the national anthem, even joined in to show solidarity for the protest.

While a little less publicized, another monumental moment happened over the weekend in the world of sports. On Saturday (Sept. 23), Bruce Maxwell, catcher for the Oakland Athletics, became the first MLB player to take a knee in protest during the national anthem. The Athletics player that dons the #13 knelt prior to the start of their game against the Texas Rangers in Oakland, California.

With his actions, 26-year-old Maxwell has joined the efforts of other NFL and NBA players in an action of solidarity with Kaepernick and for the injustices of marginalized people, specifically the murders of black and brown people in America that conveniently allow their murderers to get off without conviction time and time again.

Maxwell’s decision to kneel during the anthem on Saturday’s game came at the heels of the president Donald Trump making reference to what should happen to NFL players who do not stand for the anthems. According to Trump, those players “should be fired by their teams.”

Trump’s controversial speech happened on Friday (Sept. 22) in Huntsville, Alabama – a place where Maxwell grew up. Maxwell, an African-American from a family with a military background, released a statement via Jane Lee, Oakland A’s beat reporter for MLB.com:

“The point of my kneeling is not to disrespect our military. It’s not to disrespect our constitution. It’s not to disrespect our country. My hand was over my heart because I love this country. I’ve had plenty of family members, including my father, that have bled for this country, that continue to serve for this country.

At the end of the day, this is the best country on the planet. My hand over my heart symbolized the fact that I am and will forever be an American citizen, and I’m more than forever grateful for being here. But my kneeling is what is getting the attention, because I’m kneeling for the people that don’t have a voice.

This goes beyond the black community. This goes beyond the Hispanic community. Because right now we’re having a racial divide all types of people. It’s being practiced from the highest power that we have in this country, and he’s basically saying that it’s OK to treat people differently.

My kneeling, the way I did it, was to symbolize the fact that I’m kneeling for a cause, but I’m in no way or form disrespecting my country or my flag.”

Good job Bruce! Be sure to check out The FADER for a summary of everyone else that took a knee during the anthem over the weekend.

Photo Credit: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Sheriden Chanel is a twenty-something writer, Beyoncé enthusiast, and lover of all things visual art. Keep up with her and her musings on social via @indiebyline.