Oakland A’s rookie becomes first MLB player to take a knee

Over the past couple of weeks, NBA and NFL stars have been tremendously vocal about their disapproval of President Donald Trump’s comments on protesting in athletics. MLB players, on the contrary, have remained relatively quiet until now.

On September 23, Oakland A’s catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first professional baseball player to take a knee during the national anthem. As one would expect, his decision was met with both criticism and praise.

Maxwell received numerous death threats and some even wished injury upon him. For the most part, the backlash came from online posters. Maxwell was not surprised by this and was well aware of the scrutiny that comes with taking such a public stance.

“It’s nothing different from what I dealt with in my life. The threats I get are part of the problem,” Maxwell said. “What I’m doing is peaceful. What I’m doing is for a meaning. People who throw hate my way are people who also don’t understand there’s a problem, and they choose not to understand. That’s fine with me.”

Two days after the historic display, Maxwell returned to the starting lineup as he had been cleared from the league’s concussion protocol. During his first at-bat since letting his beliefs be known, Maxwell was greeted with a standing ovation from the home crowd.

“It sounded like he got a good reaction,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “Our fan base stood up and supported him. I didn’t expect anything different.”

Being an unproven rookie who has no stability in the league as of yet, the decision to act in such a manner was especially risky. Athletes who are outspoken about social or political issues have a history of getting shunned. Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is perhaps the most obvious example of this.

Regardless of the substantial risks he faced, Maxwell chose to put his morals above all else. In doing so, he prompted discussion and drew even more attention to very serious matters that need to be addressed. His gesture could potentially inspire others in the game to follow suit and spark a fire that can’t be put out.

It only takes one person to start a movement. The baseball community has found their brave trailblazer.