Dodgers' Mookie Betts Kneels During National Anthem Before Season Opener

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJuly 24, 2020

Los Angeles Dodgers' Mookie Betts flies out to center field during the fourth inning of an exhibition baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks Monday, July 20, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

Los Angeles Dodgers superstar Mookie Betts kneeled during the playing of the national anthem ahead of Thursday's Opening Day matchup against the San Francisco Giants, with teammates Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy standing next to him with a hand on his shoulders. 

Both teams kneeled before the playing of the anthem.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Dodgers star Mookie Betts takes a knee during the national anthem before his first game in LA https://t.co/JeFFnE6HZS

Jorge Castillo @jorgecastillo

Mookie Betts is the only Dodger kneeling during the anthem. Cody Bellinger has his hand on his shoulder. https://t.co/6DIOzAdtLF

It was one of a number of gestures around baseball Thursday supporting social justice causes, including Black Lives Matter:


United as one. https://t.co/VIgDPLbzRd

Brad Galli @BradGalli

Every Yankees and Nationals player and coach took a knee during the opening ceremonies of tonight’s MLB opener. Morgan Freeman spoke, addressing social injustice. https://t.co/ldK3TMzRtT

Players from the Washington Nationals and New York Yankees did not kneel during the national anthem, instead kneeling before it "to recognize the many social hurdles faced by MLB players from around the world," per The Athletic's Lindsey Adler.

Betts said earlier in the week that he regretted not supporting Bruce Maxwell in 2017 when the former Oakland Athletics catcher kneeled during the anthem to protest police brutality. 

"We should've talked to him and figured out where he was and then joined him, really," he told Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times. "So, we definitely dropped the ball on that. He did an amazing job with what he had going on, but now we're trying to get our voices heard."

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told reporters before the game that he would support whatever protest or gesture his players chose to make.

"I have talked to our guys about kneeling and for me it was more of individual choice..." he said. "I just wanted to encourage each and every man to make their own decision."