When Bruce Maxwell, catcher for the Oakland Athletics, became the first major league baseball player to take a knee during the national anthem in Saturdays game against the Texas Rangers, a Tweet from sports mind Howard Bryant pretty much summed up the courage and selflessness of Maxwell, an African-American rookie catcher in a league with just 64 African-American players, a league that hasnt seen an African-American catcher of note since Charles Johnson retired in 2005.
Maxwell is actually the minority of minorities in MLB as black catchers are as rare as uplifting and unifying words from President Trump.
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
The As released a statement on Twitter shortly after Maxwell placed his hand over his heart and his white teammate Mark Canha stood next to Maxwell and put a hand on his shoulder in support.
The Oakland As pride ourselves on being inclusive, the statement read. We respect and support all of our players constitutional rights and freedom of expression.
For a rookie with no MLB stability to be the first player to join in protesting racism, police violence and our Presidents poisonous and divisive rhetoric, is a huge risk. Most MLB fans have no idea who Maxwell is, but he was urged to action in light of the presidents criticism of athletes who protest during sporting events.
Oakland A’s rookie Bruce Maxwell takes a knee during the national anthem. (via Santiago Mejia / @sfchronicle)
Colin Kaepernick said his silent protest that sparked a national fervor and dialogue of race in America was meant to bring awareness to injustices against minorities in the United States. His actions have morphed into a moment of truth in American history, a time of reflection and a major source of controversy ever since.
On Friday, Trump outraged dozens of professional athletes when he showed major disrespect by calling Colin Kaepernick a son of a bitch and asked for athletes protesting to be fired.
On Saturday, he continued tweeting and spewing his illogical and impulsive venom, saying it was about just complete inequality. He also wrote that no one should be surprised if you start seeing athletes kneeling in other sports now.
Trump was right about athletes in other sports starting to kneel and his words only inspired others to action. Little did we know that an unknown African-American catcher, still attempting to get his feet wet in the challenging sport of MLB, would put his country and the state of our nation before his financial and professional desires.
Maxwell tweeted this hours before he stood out on the ledge of American history all by himself on Saturday night.
Inequality is being displayed bigger than ever right now as our president shows that freeedom of protest and speech is not allowed..
He felt baseball needed a social leader. Baseball needed to let people know that they arent silent participants in the deterioration of our great nation.
Hopefully, this will inspire other more recognizable faces in the game, especially the Hispanics who benefitted so much from Jackie Robinsons sacrifices, to join Maxwell in standing against racism and oppression in this country.