Oakland A's catcher Bruce Maxwell says a waiter in an Alabama restaurant refused to serve him because he knelt during the national anthem.
Maxwell was the first — and only — Major League Baseball player to join in the National Football League's #TakeAKnee protest, going down on one knee during the national anthem during a game back in August. The MLB quickly noted that players are required to stand during pre-game ceremonies, and Maxwell's demonstration was brought to a swift end.
While the protest may have registered as barely a blip in the national #TakeAKnee news cycle, it seems people in Maxwell's hometown of Harvest, Alabama noticed — and when Maxwell returned home for the summer, he says people acted differently towards him. In one case, a waiter in a local restaurant actually refused to serve him.
I got racially profiled in my hometown the day I got home. I wasn’t even home four hours and I got denied service at lunch with our city councilman who is also an African American guy I went to high school with because the dude recognized me as the guy who took a knee and he voted for Trump and was at that Trump rally in Huntsville, Alabama.
And so he denied us service at lunch and they had to go get us another waiter to wait on our table in that same restaurant.
He was like, "Oh, yeah, you’re that guy, huh?” And I was like, “scuse me?” He was like “Yea, you’re the guy that took the knee?” He goes, “I voted for Trump and I stand for everything he stands for.”
Maxwell went on to say that the incident proved his point: that racial bias still exists in America, and that professional athletes are bringing attention to a very important issue.
The strange thing is, of course, that Maxwell thought his own protest was legitimate, and that refusing to stand for the national anthem — which is actually part of his job, per the MLB — was the correct way to make what seems to be a complex issue personal to millions of Americans. But when a waiter also protested on the job, bringing the issue of disrespect towards the flag home to Maxwell, Maxwell was outraged.
Maxwell did say, however, that there are a few positives that have come from his protest. He's friends with Colin Kaepernick now, for starters, and Kaepernick has offered to mentor the MLB catcher. Hopefully, Kaepernick isn't giving him any contract advice.