Ex-A's catcher Bruce Maxwell: 'Where was this 3 years ago?'
Former Oakland Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell made headlines in 2017 when he became the first Major League Baseball player to kneel during the anthem, following in Colin Kaepernick's footsteps of protesting police brutality.
Now, Maxwell, who is no longer in MLB, is weighing in on the ongoing protests across the United States in the wake of George Floyd's death while in police custody.
"It doesn't shock me (that MLB was) the last sport to say something," Maxwell said Wednesday during an appearance on the "A's Plus" podcast hosted by Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle." When I did my thing, my team supported me at the time, but MLB didn't really back me."
On Wednesday, MLB released its statement regarding Floyd's death, days after the NFL, NBA, and NHL had issued theirs.
"The difference now is everyone is hopping on board; the athletes, the people supporting how Colin Kaepernick did his thing, some people are supporting how I did my thing," Maxwell continued. "We did it in a peaceful manner and the purpose is now being seen as genuine, a legitimate problem in America.
"But where was this three years ago? Where was this when Kaepernick lost his career and still kept pushing? Where were these people when I took a knee? ... Where was this support when I was pushed out of MLB and it was made to seem it was because I was arrested, and what I was arrested for wasn't even illegal?"
One month after kneeling, Maxwell was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon after answering the door for a delivery-food driver while holding a gun. The catcher hasn't played in MLB since 2018 when the A's released him after he posted a .182/.207/.309 slash line over 18 games.
Maxwell says he was harassed in the aftermath of his protest, including receiving a number of death threats. The 29-year-old maintains that, because of the incessant harassment, he remained on high alert. When the doorbell rang unexpectedly, he went to take his gun out of his safe, though he never raised the weapon.
"People threatened to hang me, threatened to burn my house down. They said they hope I died in a house fire or lived with third-degree burns," he added. "It was the most atrocious stuff I've ever heard in my life, and I've never understood why there is so much hatred for a pursuit of equality."