Former Oakland A’s catcher Bruce Maxwell has been the only player to kneel during the National Anthem. That will be changing in 2020.
Back in 2017, Oakland A’s catcher Bruce Maxwell made headlines for being the first player to take a knee during the National Anthem. His protests at the end of that season mirrored those occurring in the NFL, bringing that message to Major League Baseball.
In the subsequent years, Maxwell remains the only MLBer to have knelt in protest. In general, MLB is a sport that attempts to stay away from controversy, to the point where expressions of exuberance on the diamond are frowned upon. The league essentially stays away from anything that could be considered beyond neutral.
That could change this year. Once the season gets underway, Maxwell may get company in his protest from years ago. Former teammate Marcus Semien thinks that other players will follow suit and take a knee during the anthem this year.
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It is a marked change from where the league and the players were in 2017. While the A’s issued a statement of support, and his teammates were also supportive, no one else knelt. Mark Canha did put a hand on Maxwell’s shoulder, but that was as far as anyone went.
The protest also drew plenty of criticism, as had the protests in the NFL, with fans not appreciating the display. Semien himself said that he had “tunnel vision” when he played minor league ball in the south, ignoring everything beyond his time at the ballpark and his trip back to wherever he was staying at the time.
But, as Semien said, the time for the tunnel vision is over. The time for silence is over. It is a time for players to take a stand, regardless of the sport and expectations. Major League Baseball may not want to court controversy, but the current political and social situation requires action. It is something that Maxwell understood in 2017, and a message that has now been shouted for everyone to hear.
Former Oakland A’s catcher Bruce Maxwell remains the only player to take a knee during the National Anthem. That is likely to change when the season begins.