Oakland Athletics rookie becomes first MLB player to protest national anthem

The Bay Area can add one more name to its ranks of athletes with a social conscious: Bruce Maxwell, rookie catcher for the Oakland Athletics, made history on Saturday.

Before the A’s game against the Texas Rangers, Maxwell knelt through the national anthem. No player in Major League Baseball has done that, despite the move gaining popularity since Colin Kaepernick did it last season as a member of the San Francisco 49ers.

Maxwell signaled his intentions on social media before making the move, which is in response to Donald Trump, who went on a rant against pro athletes practicing activism on Friday night.

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!’” he said during a rally in Alabama. 

Maxwell posted on Instagram:

(In one of the comments on that post, an Instagram user named donniemars wrote, “Fuck you… your gonna get it bitch. Bullets are made for people like you”)

Maxwell also posted on Twitter hours before taking the field at the Coliseum:

As to whether the A’s will follow Trump’s directive and fire their rookie catcher with a great deal of promise: Don’t count on it.

The team issued the following statement supporting inclusiveness and freedom of speech.

Maxwell’s teammate, Mark Canha, put his hand on the catcher’s shoulder through the song and hugged him afterward. 

jpalmer@sfexaminer.com

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