Yankees, Nationals kneel, then stand for national anthem at MLB opener
Every player and coach took a knee before the national anthem on Thursday’s Opening Day game between the New York Yankees and the Washington Nationals in support of the “Black Lives Matter” movement.
Each of the teams knelt beside one another with the appropriate social distance between each player while holding a long black cloth. When they knelt, a clip of actor Morgan Freeman speaking about social injustice played over the loud speakers.
The players and coaches then stood for the anthem itself at the Washington, D.C., game Thursday, played in an empty Nationals Park due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Every player and coach on the Yankees & Nationals took a knee before the national anthem tonight in D.C.
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) July 23, 2020
Then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the anthem in 2016 as a protest against police brutality, and has claimed in court that he was blackballed by the NFL for his political activism.
However, since the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who was killed by Minneapolis police in May, the gesture has increasingly been used by protesters and those calling attention to the same issues.
Several of the San Francisco Giants and their manager Gabe Kapler, knelt Monday during the anthem ahead of an exhibition game.
“I wanted them to know that I wasn’t pleased with the way our country has handled police brutality, and I told them I wanted to amplify their voices and I wanted to amplify the voice of the Black community and marginalized communities, as well,” Kapler said Monday.
President Trump, one of the most vocal opponents of the practice, has repeatedly said he will not watch any games featuring kneeling.
Kapler pushed back against the president Tuesday, saying “I see nothing more American than standing up for what you believe in. I see nothing more patriotic than peaceful protests when things are frustrating and upsetting.”
“It doesn’t matter what leader says that they’re not going to be following a game. What matters the most is that we’re unwavering in trying to do what’s right … What guides our decision is standing up for people who need us to stand up for them,” he added.
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