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A’s rookie catcher Bruce Maxwell is the first MLB player to take a knee for national anthem

MLB: Texas Rangers at Oakland Athletics John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell took a knee during the national anthem before Saturday’s game against the Texas Rangers at Coliseum, believed to be the first Major League Baseball player to do so this season.

This comes one day after a speech by President Donald Trump on Friday during which he said national anthem protestors should be fired, comments that were called “divisive” by the NFL. The NFL Players Association released a statement in response to Trump that said, "No man or woman should ever have to choose a job that forces them to surrender their rights."

Maxwell tweeted a series of responses to Trump’s speech on Saturday:

Maxwell, a 26-year-old second-year catcher for Oakland, was profiled by Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle:

Maxwell was born in Wiesbaden, Germany, when his father, who also is named Bruce, was stationed there with the Army. The younger Maxwell is highly patriotic - he took great pride in the July 4 uniforms and catcher’s gear he received this year - so his decision to kneel appears to be entirely in opposition to Trumps comments and in solidarity with the NFL players who have taken a knee for the anthem.

The A’s, immediately upon Maxwell’s anthem protest, issued a statement of support:

“The Oakland A’s pride ourselves on being inclusive,” the statement read. “We respect and support all of our players’ constitutional rights and freedom of expression.”

After the game, Maxwell explained his decision, telling reporters, “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.”