Athletics Catcher Bruce Maxwell Becomes 1st MLB Player to Kneel for Anthem

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistSeptember 24, 2017

Oakland Athletics' Bruce Maxwell scores during the third inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

Oakland A's catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first Major League Baseball player to kneel during the national anthem on Saturday, according to the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser.

Susan Slusser @susanslusser

From the @sfchronicleโ€™s Santiago Mejia, here is Aโ€™s rookie Bruce Maxwell becoming the first MLB player to take a knee for the anthem: https://t.co/q8QVY9hW15

"The Oakland A's pride ourselves on being inclusive," the team said in a statement. "We respect and support all of our players' constitutional rights and freedom of expression."

Manager Bob Melvin said Maxwell told the team before the game that he intended to kneel, per Jane Lee of MLB.com. Melvin added Maxwell thought long and hard about doing this, per Lee.

Maxwell later offered extended thoughts on his decision, which were relayed by Lee:ย 

Jane Lee @JaneMLB

Bruce Maxwell: https://t.co/fRaVHf2gPs

MLB also released a statement, per ESPN:

"Major League Baseball has a longstanding tradition of honoring our nation prior to the start of our games. We also respect that each of our players is an individual with his own background, perspectives and opinions. We believe that our game will continue to bring our fans, their communities and our players together."

Earlier Saturday, Maxwell hinted at kneeling with a post on Twitter:

Bruce T Maxwell @bruu_truu13

Don't be surprised if you start seeing athletes kneeling in other sports now!! Comments like that coming from our president. WOW! โœŠ๐ŸฝโœŠ๐ŸฝโœŠ๐Ÿฝ

According to the Dallas Morning News' Evan Grant, Maxwell is the son of a United States soldier and was born on an army base.

Maxwell's decision comes one day after President Donald Trump said at a rally in Alabama that he would like to see NFL owners cut players who protest social injustice during the national anthem.

"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,'" Trump said, per CNN's Brian Stelter. "You know, some owner is going to do that. He's going to say, 'That guy that disrespects our flag, he's fired.' And that owner, they don't know it [but] they'll be the most popular person in this country."

Trump also implied in a tweet Saturday that the Golden State Warriors wouldn't be invited to the White House after Stephen Curry said he would advocate for the team not to visit.

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump

Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team.Stephen Curry is hesitating,therefore invitation is withdrawn!

"I don't want to go," Curry said Friday, according to USA Today's Sam Amick. "That's kind of the nucleus of my belief...(But) it's not just me going to the White House. If it was, this would be a pretty short conversation."