The Oakland Athletics catcher who made headlines last year for becoming the first MLB player to kneel during the national anthem will stand for the anthem in 2018.
Bruce Maxwell, who first knelt prior to a game in September, said Tuesday that he will not continue the “symbolic gesture” of kneeling, though he has not changed his stance regarding why he knelt in the first place.
“The purpose of the gesture was to raise awareness about social issues affecting our country, and while I’m looking forward to a society that is inclusive, empathetic and a welcoming place, I will not continue the symbolic gesture of taking a knee during our National Anthem this season,” Maxwell said in a statement.
He also noted that “as a member of a military family, I respect the sacrifices of the men and women who served and continue to serve our country.”
Maxwell’s protest last year came in the midst of a national debate over kneeling during the anthem. The debate was sparked when former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick knelt prior to a 2016 pre-season game.
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The controversy only intensified in September 2017, when President Donald Trump said at a rally that NFL owners should “fire” the “sons of b—–s” who kneel.
Maxwell then thrust himself into the debate by kneeling prior to a home game against the Texas Rangers.
Aside from the national anthem controversy, Maxwell has had a tumultuous off-season due to legal issues.
In October, he claimed that while he was eating at a restaurant, a waiter refused to serve him due to his national anthem protest. As The Western Journal reported, though, the waiter said Maxwell was “outright lying.”
Do you think Maxwell is ending his protest because of his legal issues?
Just days after this incident took place, the Oakland catcher was arrested on felony assault charges after he allegedly pointed a gun at a delivery woman. His next court date is set for April 13, and if he can’t reach a plea agreement, the trial will take place on Aug. 9.
Still, Maxwell emphasized that he’s focused on the upcoming season.
“I’m going into this season with a clear mind and a clear head,” he said. “Things happen at the pace they’re supposed to happen, you can’t really control that. I’m just keeping a good mind-set about everything and at the end of the day, I’m here to play baseball.”
Moreover, A’s manager Bob Melvin and general manager David Forst still plan on Maxwell being the team’s starting catcher.
“We have a long history with Bruce,” Forst said. “I talked to him throughout the anthem issue last season, throughout everything this offseason. The relationship goes a long way toward making us feel comfortable with him.”
For his career, the 27-year-old Maxwell is a .251 hitter with four career home runs.
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