Athletics

Bruce Maxwell: Kneeling for anthem not 'disrespecting my country or my flag'

Bruce Maxwell: Kneeling for anthem not 'disrespecting my country or my flag'

OAKLAND — Bruce Maxwell’s gesture to take a knee during the national anthem Saturday night at the Coliseum was no knee-jerk reaction by the A’s catcher.

It was something he’s considered for a long time, balancing his own personal convictions to make a statement with how it might affect his teammates and organization.

Think it was bold of Maxwell to become the first player in baseball to kneel during the anthem, in protest of racial discrimination and the inflammatory remarks of President Trump? It took just as much guts to stand before his teammates, manager Bob Melvin and GM David Forst and explain why he felt he needed to do it.

He did so in a pregame meeting Saturday that made for a degree of discomfort in the room, but also seemed to have played out in a healthy way.

“I didn’t want them to sugarcoat or aid me when it comes to the media and their personal feelings,” Maxwell said, “because the whole point of this is the ability to protest (based on) our personal beliefs and our personal choices.”

Many athletes have been critical of the President, with things intensifying across the sports landscape Saturday after Trump, among other things, withdrew an invitation for the Warriors to visit the White House and harshly criticized athletes who have knelt during the anthem, saying they should be booted off their teams.

After blasting Trump on both Instagram and Twitter, Maxwell took the field for the anthem and took the action that will define him in the eyes of the baseball world. Maxwell had been wanting to make a statement in some way. He said he and his sister dealt with racial discrimination growing up. Watching Trump’s rally play out in his hometown of Huntsville, Ala. on Friday further persuaded Maxwell to finally do so.

“This goes beyond the black community, it goes beyond the Hispanic community, because right now we’re having … a racial divide in all types of people,” said Maxwell, who is African American. “It’s being practiced from the highest power we have in this country and it’s basically saying it’s OK to treat people differently. And my kneeling, the way I did it, was to symbolize the fact that I’m kneeling for a cause. But I’m in no way or form disrespecting my country or my flag.”

A’s outfielder Mark Canha stood next to Maxwell during the anthem with his hand on Maxwell’s shoulder, a show of support. Canha said he’s considered kneeling before in protest himself but had chosen not to. As he listened to Maxwell address the team, Canha wasn’t going to let his teammate make his statement on his own.

“I could tell he was getting kind of choked up and emotional about his beliefs and how he feels about the racial discrimination that’s going on in this country right now,” Canha said. “I felt like every fiber of my being was telling me that he needed a brother today.”

Canha added that he sensed some “discomfort” in the room as Maxwell addressed the team. But he also said there was support.

“It was an open forum to ask him questions. It was as articulate as I’ve seen him,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “This wasn’t an emotional thing just today for him. … I think he handled it really well and everybody was comfortable after the session. I’m proud of him for the fact he went about it the way he did.”

Maxwell, who was born in Germany while his father served in the Army over there, said he will continue to kneel for the anthem. He doesn’t expect his teammates to do the same, only to stick to what they believe in.

“I have plenty of family members, including my father, who have bled for this country,” Maxwell said. “At the end of the day, this the best country on the planet. My hand over my heart symbolized that I am, and will forever be, an American citizen. But my kneeling is what’s getting the attention because I’m kneeling for the people that don't have a voice.”

Lowrie, Piscotty power A's comeback win vs Padres

Lowrie, Piscotty power A's comeback win vs Padres

SAN DIEGO  — Stephen Piscotty homered with two outs in the ninth inning to tie the game and Jed Lowie hit a two-run shot with two outs in the 10th to lift the Oakland Athletics over the San Diego Padres 4-2 on Tuesday night.

Piscotty’s shot into the second deck came off closer Brad Hand. Hand was trying for his 22nd save and retired the first two batters before Piscotty homered on a 2-2 pitch, his fifth.

Adam Cimber (3-3) allowed Marcus Semien’s one-out single in the 10th and retired Chad Pinder on a fly to right before Lowrie connected for his 10th homer.

Rookie Lou Trivino (4-1) pitched two innings for the win. Blake Treinen pitched the 10th for his 16th save.

Padres rookie left-hander hander Eric Lauer had been in line for the victory after pitching six strong innings. He settled down after allowing an unearned run in the second and held the A’s to one run and three hits while matching his strikeout high with seven. He walked two.

The Padres had given Lauer just enough support in the first two innings against Paul Blackburn. Jose Pirela brought in a run in the first on a grounder and Raffy Lopez doubled with one out in the second to bring in rookie Franmil Reyes, who was aboard on a leadoff double.

Blackburn allowed two runs and four hits in five innings, struck out four and walked two.

The A’s scored in the second with some help from replay. Khris Davis drew a leadoff walk and was originally called out on a force play on Matt Olson’s ground ball. The A’s challenged and the call was overturned, with shortstop Freddy Galvis given an error because his foot wasn’t on second base when he took the throw. Davis advanced on Mark Canha’s single and scored when Piscotty grounded into a double play.

ROAD WARRIORS

The Padres are in a stretch in which they will play just five of 28 games at home. After going 5-5 on a trip through Miami, St. Louis and Atlanta, the Padres are home for just two games before heading out for a seven-game trip to San Francisco and Texas. Then they’re home for three games against Pittsburgh before a six-game trip to Oakland and Arizona.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Padres: Have cut short OF Franchy Cordero’s rehab assignment after he felt something in his right elbow. Manager Andy Green said it’s “highly unlikely” Cordero is back soon.

UP NEXT

Athletics: RHP Frankie Montas (3-1, 2.67 ERA) is scheduled to start the finale of the two-game series.

Padres: Rookie LHP Joey Lucchesi (3-2, 3.23) is scheduled to return from more than a month on the DL with a strained right hip.

POLL: A's Memorable Moments -- Braden's Perfect Game vs Long's game-saving catch in Fenway

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AP

POLL: A's Memorable Moments -- Braden's Perfect Game vs Long's game-saving catch in Fenway

PROGRAMMING NOTE: NBC Sports California is looking back at the A's 50 Memorable Moments since the franchise relocated to Oakland in 1968. Below are the next two moments you can vote on. Tune into A's Pregame Live tonight at 6:30pm to watch highlights of the two moments. After the A's and Padres conclude, tune into A's Postgame Live to see which moment will move on to the next round!

1. Dallas Braden's Perfect Game on Mother's Day 2010 (11-time winner -- Defeated The Big Three's sweep of the D'backs in Arizona in 2001)

(From Dallas Braden)

Well, they haven’t taken it away yet so I guess it might not be a dream after all. It’s still insane to think that on such a special day for so many people, my teammates and I were able to etch ourselves into the hearts of A’s fans everywhere.

In the moment, I had no clue. At the same time, I was fully aware. Completely focused and emotionally distracted at the same time. Hell, I talked myself into the wrong count in the last at-bat of the game. The 27th out. In that moment I had no clue. No clue I’d become the vehicle for such an emotional moment shared between mothers and their families across baseball that special day. I do believe that’s what I was -- merely a vehicle to connect people through our beautiful game. My mom, along with the baseball gods, and Landon Powell, I guess, all steered us down the path of history and to be able to share and relive those special moments and memories is a blessing a young little leaguer can only dream of.

I hope that through my passion for the game you feel the same love I, myself, my wife, baby girl, and grandmother have felt from each of you, the fans of the Green & Gold. We couldn’t be happier to share this Mother’s Day and every Mother’s Day from here on out, TOGETHER! It’s a perfect fit if you ask me.

VS.

2. Terrence Long's game-saving catch over the wall at Fenway in 2002

(From Ben Ross)

On August 7, 2002, Terrence Long stunned Fenway Park and the entire city of Boston. With two on and two outs in the bottom of the ninth, and the A's clinging to a 3-2 lead over the Red Sox, Manny Ramirez sent a fly ball deep to right-center field. Long took off from his position in center field and made a leaping catch over the wall to preserve the win for Oakland.

Long was immediately tackled by fellow outfielder Jermaine Dye in celebration. Closer Billy Koch was so happy, he ran all the way to the outfield to give Long a bear hug.

Six days later, the A's would begin their historic 20-game win streak. They would go on to win the AL West with a record of 103-59.

VOTE HERE: