First MLB player to kneel for national anthem says he'll stand this year

A’s catcher Bruce Maxwell says he’ll stand for the national anthem this year. (AP)

Bruce Maxwell, the Oakland Athletics’ backup catcher, said he’ll stand for the national anthem in 2018 after being the first player in Major League Baseball to kneel during the anthem in protest social injustices.

Maxwell reported to A’s camp on Tuesday after a tumultous offseason that included an arrest on assault charges after he pulled a gun on a delivery driver and a he-said-he-said dispute about a waiter in his native Alabama who supposedly wouldn’t serve him because of his protest.

Now, Maxwell, a 26-year-old rookie last season, is changing course on his social protest. Here’s his statement on the matter, via Julian McWilliams of The Athletic:

Maxwell started to protest after these types of gestures had already taken footing in the NFL. The reaction in baseball wasn’t any different than it was in football — divisive and controversial — but Maxwell made it clear at the time that he was from a military family, so he had the utmost respect for the military and the U.S. flag. When he took a knee, he also put his hand over his heart and looked at the flag.

All that may have gotten lost in what happened after the season. In late October, Maxwell said a Trump-supporing waiter refused to serve him. But the waiter responded that was “an absolute lie.”

A few days later, Maxwell was arrested on charges of aggreviated assault after allegedly pointing a gun at a female delivery driver in Arizona. Maxwell had hoped that his legal issues would be resolved in time for spring training, but no plea agreement was reached Monday at a settlement conference. He’s due back in court on the assault charge April 13, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

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Mike Oz is a writer at Yahoo Sports. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter!