It is unlikely that we’ll see a massive kneeling movement in Major League Baseball
The subject of kneeling during the national anthem is one of the hottest discussions of the past days, to the extent that President Donald Trump is excessively commenting on it. Not only on Twitter, but during his recent rally in Alabama where he mentioned NFL players kneeling. He said, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a b — — off the field right now.’” From the National Football League to Major League Baseball to the National Basketball Association, players were outraged.
Bruce Maxwell is likely not the only professional baseball player angry about this, but why won’t we see that more of this in Major League Baseball, compared to the NFL where protests are becoming popular? Let’s take a look…
The sport where the protests began was the NFL, where 68% of the players are African-American. Compare that to baseball where only 7.7% of the MLB players are African-American.
When asked about the lack of diversity in the sport last year by USA Today, Adam Jones said that “baseball is a white mans sport”. This statement is true, for the most part. There are two African-American managers in MLB. In contrast, there are no African-American team presidents in baseball and no African-American general managers. However, there is a Muslim GM (Dodgers) and a Cuban GM (Tigers). The white GM’s may not be as sympathetic to the reasoning behind kneeling during the national anthem as people of color are.
The fight for African-American and minority rights will continue to be fought in the sports world, whether more MLB players get behind it or not. All sorts of people oppose the protests, claiming kneeling is “anti-American” and “anti-military” and should result in consequence.
I would like to remind them that the First Amendment protects the right to peacefully protest. I do think that kneeling is peaceful; the only things that the protests are hurting are people’s feelings. The cliché “stick to sports” argument does not and should never apply, as we would not be where we are in terms of Civil Rights if Branch Rickey stuck to sports and didn’t get involved in integrating baseball. Fighting against police brutality is needed, as it can happen to anyone with dark skin at any time. Even if you do not agree with the players’ opinions, it is necessary to respect their right to peacefully protest. Perhaps more players in MLB will protest, but only time will tell if there is any change.