Athletics

Athletics

Former A's catcher Bruce Maxwell was watching Monday night as Giants manager Gabe Kapler, coaches and players took a knee during the national anthem at the Oakland Coliseum.

Kapler and the Giants made their statement a short distance from where Maxwell took a knee in 2017 in protest against racial and social injustices.

Three years later, Maxwell was happy to see members of the Giants trying to spread the message he was trying to get out into the public.

"I felt joy, honestly," Maxwell told NBC Sports California's Laura Britt shortly after the Giants beat the A's in an exhibition game. "That was probably my primary emotion. To feel joy that the message and the purpose of the kneeling is being spread among our sport. We've all talked about it. To see the selflessness of the players and to stand as one, with Kapler, other players took a knee tonight, just to see it, man, it was joyous for me."

Maxwell was the only person associated with MLB to take a knee in 2017, so seeing someone in a managerial position take a knee was big to him.

"It's very important," Maxwell said of Kapler taking a knee. "I think he put his title on that field aside to stand for something that was bigger than himself, bigger than the game we play and to spread awareness of injustice in humanity that's going on right now in our country, I think it's very selfless of him. A lot of vulnerability that he showed tonight and very proud of that."

 

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Kapler told reporters after the game that he wanted to use his platform to show his dissatisfaction with racism and police brutality in this country.

When MLB's official Twitter account tweeted a video of Kapler and the Giants taking a knee, they received a few tweets from people telling them not to involve politics in sports. MLB's account responded by defending the actions of the Giants.

The reaction from the account affiliated with MLB was quite different than what Maxwell faced three years ago.

"It's night and day," Maxwell told Britt. "It's definitely night and day. It's a different experience, a different response in this day and age than back in 2017, extremely. But it's good to see."

It took three years for anyone else associated with baseball to follow Maxwell's lead. But he told Britt he's not upset more people didn't support him three years ago.

"I'm thrilled that progress is being made, honestly," Maxwell said. "That's the whole point of all this, standing up for the people who can't stand for themselves or don't have the platform that we possess. That's what it's always been about. It's not about me. It's not about Kapler. It's not about the guys who do take a knee. It's about the message we're sending.

"We have a lot of issues going on right now, specifically police brutality in America and we need to stand as one and stand for the common person who doesn't have the platform or doesn't have the voice to speak out and be heard, and so to see the progress, it's huge, it's joyful like I said earlier. It's a good feeling to have."

It remains to be seen if Kapler and the Giants, or members of other teams, will kneel in future games. But the events Monday are a step in the right direction for Maxwell and those trying to bring awareness to racial and social injustices.