Oakland Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first Major League Baseball player to kneel during the national anthem Saturday, after President Trump criticized athletes for the form of protest.
Photos from the game show Maxwell kneeling with his hand on his heart and facing the American flag during the national anthem. Teammate Mark Canh was seen placing his hand on Maxwell’s shoulder.
Maxwell is the son of a U.S. soldier and was born on a military base in Germany.
His decision to kneel follows comments from Trump during a Friday rally in Alabama in which he called on NFL owners to fire any “son of a b—-” players on their teams who kneel during the national anthem before games or disrespect the American flag.
Trump told the crowd they should leave in protest if they see a player kneeling during the anthem.
“When people like yourselves turn on television and you see those people taking the knee when they are playing our great national anthem – the only thing you could do better is if you see it, even if it’s one player, leave the stadium,” Trump said. “I guarantee things will stop.”
Trump doubled down on his comments in a pair of tweets Saturday, saying NFL players who protest the flag or anthem “should find something else to do.”
Maxwell, earlier in the day, took to Twitter and Instagram to attack President Trump over the comments.
“Yeah, f— this guy! Our president speaks of inequality of man because players are protesting the anthem! F— this man! Seriously on the highest platform for our country expressing that it is OK for there to be division of man and rights!” he wrote on Instagram.
This now has gone from just a BlackLives Matter topic to just complete inequality of any man or woman that wants to stand for Their rights!
— Bruce T Maxwell (@bruu_truu13) September 23, 2017
Former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick first began the controversy last year when he began kneeling during the national anthem before football games in a statement against racial injustice and police brutality.
Other football players have followed suit, but Maxwell is the first baseball player to kneel during the anthem.