Bruce Maxwell

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


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. 

Potential court trial for A's catcher Bruce Maxwell set for April


Potential court trial for A's catcher Bruce Maxwell set for April

A potential court trial for A’s catcher Bruce Maxwell has been scheduled for April, which would take Maxwell away from the team during the regular season if his felony case in Arizona makes it that far.

There remains a strong possibility, however, that Maxwell agrees to a plea deal and avoids a trial for his October arrest on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct in Scottsdale.

Maxwell’s initial pretrial conference took place Thursday morning in Maricopa County Superior Court. According to a court spokesperson, there was discussion of a possible settlement conference in the near future in the hopes of avoiding a trial.

Maxwell’s next court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 29. His pretrial conference would be April 3 with the actual trial date April 10. There’s no indication of when the potential settlement conference would take place, but a plea deal can happen anytime leading up to the trial.

Maxwell allegedly pointed a gun at a food delivery driver who arrived at his home with an order on Oct. 28.

The A’s report to spring training in mid-February and open the regular season March 29 at home against the Los Angeles Angels.

They don’t appear poised to add any catching help as insurance. General manager David Forst has expressed confidence that Maxwell will be with the team when spring camp begins.

“We’re expecting Bruce to be ready to go the first day of spring training and to be with us,” Forst said during the winter meetings. “I’m not getting involved in the legal side of this, but no one has said anything to me that makes me believe he won’t be ready to go.”

The A’s have two other catchers besides Maxwell, Dustin Garneau and Josh Phegley, on their 40-man roster. They also have a highly regarded prospect behind the plate in Sean Murphy, though he has yet to play above Double-A ball.

Bruce Maxwell enters plea on assault and disorderly conduct charges

Scottsdale PD

Bruce Maxwell enters plea on assault and disorderly conduct charges

A’s catcher Bruce Maxwell pleaded not guilty in superior court Tuesday to charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct in Arizona.

An initial pretrial conference is scheduled for Dec. 28, with a comprehensive pretrial conference set for Jan. 29. A plea deal presumably could be worked out before the felony case ever makes it to trial.

Maxwell was arrested Oct. 28 in Scottsdale after he allegedly pointed a gun at a delivery driver who was bringing food to his home. According to police reports, Maxwell showed signs of intoxication when officers showed up, used profanity and made anti-police statements during his arrest.

The A’s have not commented on Maxwell’s legal troubles since issuing a press statement the day after his arrest, which said the team was gathering information from authorities and withholding further comment.

In Arizona, an assault-with-a-deadly-weapon charge can carry a sentence of anywhere from five to 15 years in prison, though several factors are considered that could bring a less severe punishment, including whether the defendant has any prior criminal history.

Regardless of how the legal process plays out, Maxwell could be subject to punishment either from the A’s or Major League Baseball. It’s also unknown how, or if, this incident will affect Maxwell’s roster status with Oakland.

In September he became the first and so far only Major League player to kneel for the pregame national anthem, in protest of racial and social injustice. Before his arrest in October, A’s officials said they viewed Maxwell as their primary catcher looking ahead to 2018. With just one year of major league service time, Maxwell is on a year-to-year contract with Oakland right now and would make in the neighborhood of the major league minimum next season. Therefore, there’s no financial downside for the club were it to cut ties with Maxwell. But such a move certainly would spur the A’s to look for outside catching help.

Josh Phegley and Dustin Garneau are the only other catchers on the 40-man roster. Both hit right-handed and would probably best be used as part of a platoon.

There are some quality veteran catchers available in free agency, including Jonathan Lucroy, Alex Avila (who, like Maxwell, bats left-handed) and Welington Castillo.

The A’s could also explore a trade for a catcher. The switch-hitting Yasmani Grandal, who figures to at least be shopped by the Los Angeles Dodgers, would be an attractive target, though he hits free agency after next season.

The A’s have a catching prospect they think highly of in Sean Murphy, but considering Murphy split last season between Single-A and Double-A ball, he probably isn’t a candidate to make the big league club out of spring training.