Here’s the thing about history— it always repeats itself.
On September 2017, Bruce Maxwell was the first MLB player to kneel with US athletes to protest against racial injustice.
This July, history repeated itself as the San Francisco Giants baseball team took a knee during the national anthem before their first exhibition game on Monday night.
Taking the knee symbolizes the players’ own protest against the police brutality that has been prevalent in recent times. To show support and empathy for their black brothers in America, the Giants’ players expressed a peaceful protest.
However, one political figure didn’t refrain from expressing his distaste for their actions. On Tuesday morning, Donald Trump took to Twitter to state his opinion.
He had said, he looks forward to live sports, but would not tolerate any players kneeling during the National Anthem. According to him, the action showed blatant disrespect to the United States of America, as well as its flag. The game, he stated, was over for him as soon as he witnessed the events.
While Trump posted his opinion, the Giants’ baseball team manager, Gabe Kapler, begged to differ. Various statements issued by the press indicate that Kapler intended to voice the team’s defiance against police brutality. Kapler also explained that he was unhappy with how the situation was being handled.
The team taking the knee, according to him, was a gesture of support towards the black and the marginalized communities.
To use their platform as a safe place to speak up was Kapler’s objective that night. Kapler joined players like Mike Yastrzemski, Austin Slater, and Jaylin Davis, along with their coaches in taking a knee. He further elaborated his support by placing his hands on the shoulders of Richardson and Davis, who are both black.
However, while the Giants didn’t officially announce their initiative, Kapler had made sure that the team was informed.
In fact, the decision was carefully considered for weeks before the execution, says Kapler. There were many conversations with community organizations, spanning over weeks that took place before they kneeled.
After the unforeseen event, the crowd and the reporters were roaring with questions. Upon being asked if the Giants would proceed to kneel in support over their next few games, Kapler remained reassuring.
The Giants would continue to play 60 more games throughout the regular season. Kapler remarked that the team had taken 60 days to make the decision about whether they would kneel or not. Whether it be standing or kneeling, an initiative needs to be taken.
In another statement, Farhan Zaidi, the President of Baseball Operations for the SF Giants, also showed satisfaction. He said that the team was proud of the players and staff for taking a stand against racial injustice.
He further commented that the team was staying supportive of the players’ peaceful protest and showing their love for the country. As per his statement, the team also strives to see this event as the exclusive sentiments of the players. After all, they believe that the country is great because they have the freedom to express themselves.
Despite signs of dissatisfaction among fans, the President of Baseball Operations went on to establish their denouncement of discriminatory acts. Additionally, the team also pledges to work collaboratively with the people of America who fall victim to racial injustice.
This historic moment was shared with the world, to spread the love and support shown by the players. The MLB put up a video on Twitter which showed the SF Giants kneeling proudly. In fact, the MLB went above and beyond by defending the players against critical viewers and fans.
To one such comment, they responded, that the support of human rights is not a political discussion. While another commenter pointed out that the gesture was disrespectful to the military and to the flag, the league responded adequately. The MLB said that the movement was never about the military or the flag. The players were only using their platform to protest, they added.
In fact, even Maxwell reacted well to the gesture. He asserted that the events of Monday night were received far more positively compared to his iconic kneel in 2017. Despite it being a different experience and a different response, he still appreciated the efforts of the Giants.