Baseball didn’t need to wait until opening day to see whether any players would take a knee during the national anthem. Gabe Kapler, the new manager of the San Francisco Giants, and four players took a knee Monday night before the team’s preseason game against the Oakland Athletics.
Mike Yastrzemski, Austin Slater, Jaylin Davis and Antoan Richardson were the Giants players who took a knee. Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford put his hands on the shoulders of Davis and Richardson.
Here’s the scene, via Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area:
A bunch of Giants players and coaches kneeled for the anthem. Brandon Crawford put his hands on the shoulders of Jaylin Davis and Antoan Richardson: pic.twitter.com/2XsIg8oFjw
— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) July 21, 2020
Bruce Maxwell, the former A’s catcher, was the first MLB player to take a knee back in 2017. Until Monday night, Maxwell remained the only MLB player to do so. Maxwell’s protest followed Colin Kaepernick and others taking a knee in the NFL.
Maxwell is out of MLB these days, playing professional ball in Mexico. He admitted recently he’s “bitter” that his protest didn’t get more support at the time around MLB. In a sign that Maxwell is right about baseball being more supportive of players taking a knee in 2020, the official MLB Twitter account shared the video with the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter.
The @MLB handle even endorsed the protest when a fan said Giants players were disrespecting the military.
It has never been about the military or the flag. The players and coaches are using their platforms to peacefully protest.
— MLB (@MLB) July 21, 2020
The tenor around baseball three years later seems different. Players have been more vocal about their support for racial justice — with various MLB players speaking out on social media about George Floyd’s death and the Black Lives Matter movement.
It seemed like a good bet that we’d see players kneeling in MLB this season. And with opening day coming later this week, it’s likely that we’ll see even more players taking a knee to show their support for racial and social justice.
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