OAKLAND, Calif. — Oakland Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell pressed a hand to his heart and took to a knee for the national anthem for the second straight game Sunday, part of a protest movement that has been criticized by President Donald Trump.
On Saturday, the 26-year-old rookie became the first big-league baseball player to kneel during “The Star-Spangled Banner” before the A’s played Texas. Again Sunday, teammate Mark Canha put a hand on Maxwell’s shoulder in a show of support like he did Saturday.
Maxwell received support from NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant of the NBA champion Golden State Warriors.
“More power to him, man. He’s standing up for something great,” Durant said across town after the team’s second practice of training camp. “We all respect it, support it and appreciate it.”
A’s manager Bob Melvin said Maxwell’s protest was a courageous act, noting that the decision to become the first player in the majors to adopt the protest came with risk.
“It does take a lot of courage because you know that now the potential of the crosshairs are on you and for a guy who’s not as established, I’m sure, and I’m not speaking for him, but I’m sure there were some feelings for him that there was some risk,” Melvin said before Sunday’s game. “I do know that he felt better about it afterward because there’s a lot of uncertainty when you take that type of step.”
Canha acknowledged trepidation about his decision to support Maxwell.
“I had to think about what I was going to do to show my support for Bruce, for 20 minutes, and even then I was hesitant to do it,” Canha said. “Even then I was like, you know that fear of, I thought about Colin Kaepernick, well jeez — I love baseball, I want to play baseball, I love my job and love this country, I want to be part of this country, but to live in fear. Just the fact that I had that small amount of fear and that small amount of hesitation, speaks volumes about that we need some change.”
Canha, who grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and played at California, said he shares the values of one of the nation’s most politically progressive regions.
“It’s ingrained into me and it’s something that I believe in,” Canha said. “I’m right on board with it.”