Oakland Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first MLB player to kneel during the national anthem and says he will continue to do so despite receiving threats and racial slurs.
Maxwell knelt before the Athletics' meeting with the Texas Rangers on Saturday, with his protest coming on the heels of United States president Donald Trump calling NFL players who peacefully protest during the national anthem "sons of b******" who should be fired.
An African American who grew up in a military family, Maxwell said "keyboard warriors" have wished him injury and suspension for his protest.
"I expected it. It's nothing different from what I dealt with in my life. The threats I get are part of the problem," Maxwell said.
"What I'm doing is peaceful. What I'm doing is for a meaning. People who throw hate my way are people who also don't understand there's a problem, and they choose not to understand. That's fine with me."
"The whole point of this is to inform people there is a problem. If people are going to join me and kneel on the baseball field, I want them to do so freely. I don't push them to do it. It's up to them. It's a personal choice, just like the personal choice I took to take a knee."
Athletics outfielder Mark Canha has vowed to stand beside Maxwell and place a hand on his shoulder when he kneels, saying he doesn't "want to leave my brother on the island by himself."