Two days after kneeling for a racial unity demonstration then standing for the national anthem on opening day, New York Yankees outfielders Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Hicks took a knee during the anthem before their second game of the season on Saturday.
The pair appeared to be the only players to do so as the song was played.
The outfielders join a varying group of players to take a knee in the first official MLB games since the killing of George Floyd in May. Several players on the Chicago White Sox and San Francisco Giants as well as other players like Los Angeles Dodgers star Mookie Betts took a knee during the anthem on opening day.
The entire Yankees team had stood for the anthem on Thursday, kneeling instead for a ceremony involving a moment of silence and a lengthy black ribbon held by members of both teams. Apparently, Stanton and Hicks wanted to maintain the message as the season continued.
Yankees players have been outspoken on Black Lives Matter
Both Stanton and Hicks had spoken out in the aftermath of Floyd’s death on social media. They also both took part in a Black Lives Matter video featuring several Black MLB players, alongside teammate Aaron Judge and former Yankee CC Sabathia.
When asked about the protest after the game, a 9-2 Yankees loss, Stanton recalled the story of Rodney King.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone told reporters he was “totally supportive” of his players kneeling. Hicks explained that his protest was spurred by what he’s seen over the course of his life.
Hicks also reportedly declined comment on President Donald Trump saying he would throw the first pitch at a Yankees game sometime this season. Stanton said he wasn’t sure it would even happen, and declined comment on the idea.
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