Bruce Maxwell

Bruce Maxwell enters plea on assault and disorderly conduct charges

maxwell-mug.jpg
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.

Grand jury issues indictment against A's catcher Bruce Maxwell

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Scottsdale PD

Grand jury issues indictment against A's catcher Bruce Maxwell

A’s catcher Bruce Maxwell was indicted by a grand jury in Arizona this week, meaning probable cause was found for his felony case to move forward.

Maxwell faces charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct stemming from his Oct. 28 arrest in Scottsdale.

His arraignment is scheduled for Tuesday in Maricopa County Superior Court, when Maxwell will be asked to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty.

Maxwell allegedly pointed a gun at a female driver who came to his door to deliver a food order. The driver called police, and according to police reports, Maxwell showed signs of intoxication during his arrest, used excessive profanity and made “anti-police” statements.

In Arizona, the crime of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon can include a sentence of anywhere from five to 15 years in prison, though many factors are taken into consideration that could bring a much less severe penalty. Regardless of what happens through the legal system, Maxwell could face punishment from Major League Baseball and/or the A’s, including suspension.

The catcher drew attention this past season in becoming the only Major League player so far to kneel during the national anthem, in protest of racial and social injustice. The A’s issued a statement supporting Maxwell in his right to do so, and taking his legal problems out of the equation, he’s considered their primary catcher looking ahead to 2018 as the roster currently stands.

Bruce Maxwell's arrest on gun charge undercuts his social activism efforts

maxwell-mug.jpg
Scottsdale PD

Bruce Maxwell's arrest on gun charge undercuts his social activism efforts

Time will tell what the future holds for Bruce Maxwell’s baseball career after the A’s catcher was arrested Saturday night for allegedly pointing a gun at someone.

But there’s a subplot to this ugly incident: It seemingly damages Maxwell’s credibility as an activist for social justice and racial equality, which thrust him into the national spotlight in the first place.

More details are coming out about his arrest Saturday night in Scottsdale, when Maxwell was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct.

ABC15 Arizona released details from court documents of events, and they paint a troubling picture. Police say Maxwell, 26, opened the door to his home and pointed a handgun at the head of a female driver who was delivering him food. Maxwell reportedly lowered the gun as the driver gave him the food, and the driver then called the police after returning to her car.

Officers showed up to Maxwell’s residence, and, according to court documents, they detected alcohol on his breath. He allegedly began yelling, using profanity and making anti-police statements during the arrest.

According to the court documents, Maxwell admitted having a gun on him. He also admitted to un-holstering the gun but then later denied that, and he also denied ever pointing a gun at the driver. Though Maxwell told police he had canceled the food order, the restaurant from which he ordered reportedly had no record of him doing so.

Maxwell was held in custody at Maricopa County jail but released on $10,000 bail. His next court appearance is Nov. 6.

This turn of events unleashed a harsh Twitter response against Maxwell, which could have been predicted.

Maxwell took the bold step in September of becoming the first Major League player to kneel during the national anthem, joining many NFL players who have done the same thing in protest of what they view as ongoing racial inequality in the United States.

Many applauded Maxwell’s gesture on social media, but many also condemned it.

Regardless of one’s beliefs, the conviction and clarity with which Maxwell explained and defended himself was impressive. It was the rationale of someone who had put deep thought into the decision to kneel.

But when a professional athlete takes such a highly visible (and polarizing) stance, in the court of public opinion, it leaves them little margin for error regarding their own missteps. And Maxwell’s misstep Saturday was a doozy. It threatens to undo so much of the good he’s sought to accomplish on various fronts.

To many, it won’t matter that he spends much of his free time during spring training working as a volunteer coach with Mountain Pointe High School’s baseball program in Phoenix. It won’t matter that he spent time in Santa Rosa earlier this month visiting people affected by the devastating North Bay fires.

He now faces felony criminal charges should his case move forward, and there’s no sugarcoating that. It also doesn’t help that Maxwell recently was involved in a bizarre story coming out of Alabama.

He told TMZ Sports that he and two friends, one of them a local councilman, were denied service at a Huntsville restaurant by a server who was pro-Trump and disapproved of Maxwell’s decision to kneel. The restaurant manager and the server later issued strong denials and a different version of how events played out.

Who knows which side is telling the truth from that episode? But that’s exactly the point. It has to be tough, even for Maxwell’s supporters, to decide what to believe regarding his situation right now. And that deals quite a blow to Maxwell’s earnest efforts to make a difference in the political and social climate of our country.