Bruce Maxwell

Ex-A's catcher Bruce Maxwell details mental toll of kneeling in HEADSTRONG

Ex-A's catcher Bruce Maxwell details mental toll of kneeling in HEADSTRONG

"It made me feel a little lost in the world."

Former A's catcher Bruce Maxwell made history on Sept. 23, 2017, by being the first MLB player to kneel during the national anthem in protest of racial inequality and police brutality. 

He detailed that day to NBC Sports Bay Area/California in NBC Sports' documentary, "HEADSTRONG: Mental Health and Sports."

"When I got to the field, I immediately walked into my manager's office -- had a sit down with him and our GM in private, told them what I was going to do, told them how I was going to go about it -- told them my plan, reasons, and shed a few tears because it's a heartfelt subject for me ... " 

Maxwell knew the backlash he would receive, he just wasn't prepared for the magnitude of it. He received death threats -- and still does to this day.

"The fact that somebody actually took the time to find out what school my sister coached basketball at in Texas, somebody took the time to find out where my mother lived," he explained. 

Maxwell then admitted he rarely left home when he headed back to Arizona following the event. 

"I was miserable," he said. 

He didn't want to do anything. Not exercise, not even talking to his parents.

"At that moment in time, I was standing for something way bigger than myself," Maxwell explained.

Just a few weeks later, the 28-year-old made headlines once again when he was arrested at his home in Scottsdale, Ariz. and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct after he allegedly pointed a gun at a food delivery worker.

Maxwell told NBC Sports Bay Area/California he was in a certain mental state, and in addition to what was currently going on, he felt he needed to grab his gun in order to protect himself.

"I'm in my house, I'm defending myself, just in case this happens to be one of these crazy-ass people that are sending me threats," Maxwell said

He didn't feel like himself. Not even like a human being, he explained.

[RELATED: Marcus Semien shares mental health journey]

But now, he's freely talking about it and wants to leave his mark on the world with more than just what's going on between the foul lines.

You can watch all of the "HEADSTRONG: Mental Health and Sports" vignettes right here. The full documentary will play all month on NBC Sports Bay Area and NBC Sports California.

Check our channel listings page for times and dates.

Ex-A's catcher Bruce Maxwell says he still gets threats after kneeling

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USATSI

Ex-A's catcher Bruce Maxwell says he still gets threats after kneeling

Bruce Maxwell's team had won. He was a champion in the Mexican Baseball League:

The former A's catcher walked away with celebratory honors with the Acereros de Monclova, a Triple-A team in Mexico. And he was a huge part of the success.

He finished his season with a .325/.407/.559 line and 24 home runs. 

But Maxwell's past still haunts him.

Despite the new championship hardware, Maxwell still receives death threats on social media from something that occurred back in September of 2017.

“I had a few people on Twitter saying, ‘F--k you, I still hope you die," Maxwell told The San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser. "I’m glad you’re not on our team, we don’t play kneelers.’ I was like, ‘Two years later y’all are still worrying about me?’

“People say they wish I’d go away — then they take the time to find me, when I’ve completely removed myself from damn near every contact I’ve had, and I have a new Facebook, new Instagram. I’ve started over, and I’m really happy with who I’m looking at in the mirror every day, physically, emotionally.”

The kneeling was supported by his teammate A's outfielder Mark Canha who placed his hand on the shoulder of a kneeling Maxwell. Then others joined. Manager Bob Melvin and general manager David Forst both spoke to media to offer their backing.

Beyond the protest, Maxwell had other tribulations added to his life. 

He was arrested and faced charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct in October of 2017. He allegedly pointed a gun at a female driver who came to his door to deliver food. According to police reports, Maxwell was showing signs of intoxication during his arrest, used profanity and "anti-police statements."

“People looked at me in a different light because of that,” Maxwell told The Chronicle. “People in baseball and fans look at me like a terrible person, an awful human being for standing up for what I believe in. Or for the arrest I had, and those charges were dropped."

[RELATED: Maxwell still smiling after controversial season]

Those awful comments from those on social media are inevitable. Trust us, we know.

Still, upon looking for those interacting with the former big-league catcher, there were words of encouragement. Those saying Maxwell deserved the win he helped his team achieve. Those saying they even missed him in a Green and Gold uniform. 

Hopefully, Maxwell sees those, as well. 

MLB rumors: Bruce Maxwell signs minor league deal in Mexican League

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USATSI

MLB rumors: Bruce Maxwell signs minor league deal in Mexican League

For Bruce Maxwell, there's finally a bit of good news.

The embattled former A's catcher has signed a minor league deal with Lideres Monclova of the Mexican League.

The San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser was first to report that Maxwell had a deal in the Mexican League. MLB Network's Jon Heyman was the first to identify the team.

During the 2017 season, Maxwell made waves by becoming the first baseball player to kneel during the national anthem in an attempt to bring awareness to social injustices.

A little more than a month later, Maxwell was arrested on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct after he allegedly pointed a gun at a food delivery person at his Arizona home.

Maxwell appeared in 18 games for the A's in 2018 and hit .182/.207/.309 during that span with four doubles and one home run. He was sent to Triple-A Nashville in early June, and finished the season there.

[RELATED: Five surprise candidates that could make A's roster]

Following the conclusion of the 2018 season, Maxwell was outrighted off the 40-man roster by the A's and he elected to become a free agent. In December, Maxwell reportedly fired his agent.

Now, the 28-year-old will try to rebuild his value and appeal in the Mexican League.