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Elephant Rumblings: Former A’s catcher Bruce Maxwell speaks about his 2017 kneeling protest and aftermath

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MLB news roundup

Seattle Mariners v Oakland Athletics Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

Good morning, Athletics Nation!

When he was on the Oakland A’s in 2017, catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first (and still only) MLB player to kneel in protest during the pregame national anthem. He was following the lead of NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, making a peaceful statement against police brutality toward the black community.

At the time of Maxwell’s protest, the A’s released a statement supporting his “constitutional rights and freedom of expression.” However, not everyone agreed with him, and in an interview with Susan Slusser of the S.F. Chronicle on Wednesday he talks about the blowback and death threats he received.

Unfortunately, Maxwell ran into legal trouble shortly after his protest, but that wasn’t a coincidence — the two episodes were directly related, he explains. Please click the link to read all the details, and listen to the interview itself on the accompanying podcast. If you’ve been critical of Maxwell’s actions in the past, whether regarding his protest or his arrest, I especially encourage you to give him a minute of your time to offer his side of the story.

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As for negotiations between the league and players for a 2020 season amid the coronavirus pandemic, they’re still far apart on the specifics, but there continue to be consistent reports that everyone seems to think a deal will get done and baseball will happen this summer. However, there’s still one roadblock that’s ultimately out of everyone’s hands, and it finally happened in another pro league — two players in Japan’s NPB have tested positive for the virus, something that hasn’t yet happened in Taiwan (which has already been playing for nearly two months) or Korea (playing for one month so far).

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To wrap things up, a bit of fun baseball history