Athletics

Maxwell's Army father: 'I’m right there with my baby' when it comes to anthem protest

Maxwell's Army father: 'I’m right there with my baby' when it comes to anthem protest

OAKLAND — Bruce Maxwell’s decision to kneel for the national anthem before A’s games has become a national story, and the reaction on social media has ranged from sincere appreciation to ugly rancor over his actions.

One person watching from afar in Alabama wasn’t surprised when Maxwell became the first major league baseball player to take a knee, in an effort to raise awareness of what the A’s catcher views as long-standing racial discrimination that remains in this country.

Bruce Maxwell Jr., said he raised his son to make a difference in matters such as these.

“You don’t have to be brave to do it. You have to care about society,” Maxwell Jr. said in a phone interview. “If I’m trying to raise my child to be a productive citizen, then everything he’s doing is normal to me. That tells me that I did my job as a Dad, because he cares about society. And although he’s the one percent who made it in the world of baseball, he’s willing to sacrifice himself.

“You wanna talk about a proud Dad? I’m proud, buddy.”

The catcher has received death threats geared toward his father via social media, according to Maxwell Jr. The younger Maxwell didn’t mention those when he addressed the media Sunday afternoon, but he did say he’s received some racial slurs and people wishing him injury on the diamond.

Within the A’s clubhouse, Maxwell’s teammates generally gave carefully worded responses when asked about the topic of him kneeling for the anthem. Some were more expansive in their responses than others. But the common thread was a respect for Maxwell’s right to protest, and the manner in which he’s doing it.

“(Kneeling during the anthem) doesn’t bother me if guys are being respectful,” second baseman Jed Lowrie said Sunday morning. “You look at what Bruce did yesterday with his hand over his heart (while kneeling). He’s a guy from a military family, a guy who obviously has a strong respect for this country.”

Maxwell’s father served six years in the Army. He was stationed in Germany when Bruce was born there in 1990. As the two have talked over the past couple of years, the elder Maxwell sensed his son was getting closer to making some kind of social statement.

“What people don't see, or choose not to see, (is) you have minorities dying at the gun of police officers,” Maxwell’s father said. “And being what it is, whether they’re at fault or not at fault, whatever the case may be, it’s an epidemic.”

Maxwell, who is African American and said he and his sister experienced discrimination while growing up in Alabama, plans to continue kneeling for the anthem before every game. He’s got a strong backer in teammate Mark Canha, who on Sunday stood next to a kneeling Maxwell with his hand on Maxwell’s shoulder, a scene that also played out Saturday night. All other A’s players, coaches and staff on the field for the anthem remained standing.

Unlike Saturday, a security guard stood near Maxwell during Sunday’s anthem.

Before Saturday’s game, Maxwell met with the entire team to make them aware of his intentions to kneel and why he’s doing it. A’s starter Kendall Graveman came out of that meeting firmly in Maxwell’s corner.

“I think he’s opened our eyes to a lot of things that a lot of us in this clubhouse have never been exposed to,” Graveman said.

The elder Maxwell was a sounding board for his son leading up to the decision to kneel for the anthem.

“I’ve told him, ‘Son, just be careful what you do.’ And he said ‘Daddy, I’m pretty sure what I want to do.’ So I’m right there with my baby. He’s 26 years old, but I’m right there with my baby.”

Maxwell speaks about anthem protest, but stays mum on legal issues

maxwell.jpg
USATSI

Maxwell speaks about anthem protest, but stays mum on legal issues

When A's catcher Bruce Maxwell knelt during the anthem last season, he was the first MLB player to do so. He knelt before each of each of Oakland's final nine games, in order to protest racial inequality and in response to President Trump's incendiary comments about NFL players kneeling, but ended the season as the only MLB player to kneel during the anthem. 

This season, he won't kneel at all, he told reporters in a statement on the first day of spring training. 

“Obviously, I didn’t take that lightly,” Maxwell told the San Francisco Chronicle prior to the release of his statement.  “That was to bring awareness to a problem and the face we do see it, we do experience and we have empathy for what’s going on. This year I don’t plan on kneeling. … And we’ll move on forward.”

While Maxwell did address his protest during the anthem, he largely did not address his offseason legal issues.

“It’s ongoing, I can’t really discuss details,” he said. “It’s something me and my lawyers are handling.”

On Oct. 28, Maxwell was arrested in Scottsdale after allegedly pointing a gun at a food-delivery person. He pleaded not guilty to felony charges of aggravated assault and disorderly conduct in November, and is set for a settlement conference on April 13 after failing to reach a plea agreement on Monday, according to the Chronicle. 

If an agreement cannot be reached, Maxwell's trial is set to begin on Aug. 9. 

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson traded to... the Yankees

russell-us.jpg
USATSI

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson traded to... the Yankees

The New York Yankees Wednesday announced that they have acquired infielder Russell Wilson from the Texas Rangers in exchange for future considerations.

Wilson, 29, led the Seattle Seahawks to the 2014 Super Bowl championship, defeating the Denver Broncos, 43-8. At age 25, Wilson became the third-youngest quarterback to lead a team to a Super Bowl victory.

He has played the past six seasons (2012-17) with Seattle. A four-time Pro-Bowler, Wilson has completed 1,815-of-2,834 pass attempts (64.0 percent) for 22,176 yards and 161 touchdowns. He has compiled a career starting record of 65-30-1. In 2017, Wilson led the NFL with 34 touchdown passes.

"We've admired Russell's career from afar for quite some time," Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman said. "This is a unique opportunity for us to learn from an extraordinary athlete who has reached the pinnacle of his profession. 

"After talking to a number of our players, there is a genuine excitement in having Russell join us for a short time in camp. We are all looking forward to gaining insight into how he leads teammates toward a common goal, prepares on a daily basis for the rigors of his sport, and navigates the successes and failures of a season."

The Richmond, Va., native was originally selected by the Colorado Rockies in the fourth round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, and was acquired by Texas in the minor league phase of the 2013 Rule 5 Draft. In 2014 and '15, Wilson participated in team workouts at Rangers spring training camp.

In 93 career minor league games between Rookie-level Tri-City (2010) and Single-A Asheville (2011) in Colorado's system, Wilson hit .229/.354/.356 (72-for-315) with 58R, 9 doubles, 8 triples, 5HR, 26RBI and 19SB. In his last 15 games with Asheville in 2011, Wilson hit .302 (16-for-53) with 13R, 5 extra-base hits, 9RBI and 5SB.

A two-sport athlete in college, Wilson graduated from North Carolina State University in 2010. Using his last year of amateur eligibility, Wilson enrolled at the University of Wisconsin and quarterbacked the Badgers to a co-Big Ten Championship and a Rose Bowl appearance following the 2011 season. 

Wilson is expected to be in Major League camp in March. While he is in Tampa, Wilson will participate in pregame workouts with the club and watch games from the Yankees' dugout.

He will be assigned to the Double-A Trenton roster.

Yankees media services