Former Oakland A’s catcher Bruce Maxwell remains the only MLB player to take a knee during the National Anthem to protest racial inequality and police brutality.
Back on September 23, 2017, then Oakland A’s catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first MLB player to take a knee during the National Anthem, joining players across the NFL, notably Colin Kaepernick, in their protest of racial inequality and police brutality. His protest came with the support of the A’s, but little else.
Now, as Maxwell watches Major League Baseball, the teams, and their players come out against those very topics he knelt for nearly three years ago, he wonders where the support was then. Maxwell also feels that his protests helped put an end to his time in the majors, especially with the number of teams that were in need of a backup catcher.
On the latter charge, Maxwell is on somewhat shaky ground. While his protests did not help, he was also arrested for assault with a deadly weapon that offseason. Maxwell also did not do himself any favors with his .182/.207/.308 batting line in 58 plate appearances in 2018 before electing free agency.
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But his larger point still stands. While other professional sports leagues in the United States were quick to voice their support of the protests and to add to the outcry against police brutality, Major League Baseball was conspicuously silent. Even the players and people reporting on the league were beginning to wonder when the league would release a statement.
Maxwell remains without a job with a major league franchise. He played well for the Acereros de Monclova in 2019, producing a .325/.407/.599 batting line, hitting 24 homers and 27 doubles in 487 plate appearances. At 29 years old, and with five more years of team control left, he could be a suitable backup catcher for plenty of teams.
But there is a price that one pays for taking a stand. In Maxwell’s case, that price may have been his major league career, as his phone has yet to ring with even a minor league offer. It is certainly not the only reason, but it very well may be the deciding factor.
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Bruce Maxwell wonders where Major League Baseball was in regards to supporting his own protest. It is certainly a fair question to ask.