At the San Francisco Giants vs. Los Angeles Dodgers season opener on Thursday, Giants pitcher Sam Coonrod refused to kneel during a moment in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
While players, managers, and coaches on both teams knelt together while holding a black cloth before the national anthem, Coonrod was the only one not to take a knee. He did, however, hold up the black cloth.
After the game, Coonrod explained that he did not fully partake in the gesture because of his Christian faith, and because he does not agree with everything he has heard about the BLM movement.
“I’m a Christian, like I said, and I just can’t get on board with a couple of things that I have read about Black Lives Matter. How they lean towards Marxism and they’ve said some negative things about the nuclear family. I just can’t get on board with that,” Coonrod said, per NBC Sports Bay Area.
The outlet also reported that the second-year Giants reliever did not know about the display until late in the day. After Coonrod made up his mind, he said “it was too late” to talk to anyone about his decision.
“I meant no ill will by it. I don’t think I’m better than anyone,” Coonrod further explained. “I’m a Christian. I just believe I can’t kneel before anything besides God — Jesus Christ.
“I chose not to kneel,” he continued. “I feel that if I did kneel, I would be being a hypocrite. I didn’t want to be a hypocrite. Like I said, I didn't mean any ill will toward anyone.”
Though Gabe Kapler, the manager of the Giants, knelt during the BLM moment as well as during the national anthem, he said he supports Coonrod’s decision to opt out.
“The one thing that we said is we were going to let people express themselves,” Kapler said via Zoom, per USA Today. “We were going to give them the choice on whether they were going to stand, kneel, or do something else. That was a personal decision for Sam.”
Prior to the Giants vs. Dodgers game, the New York Yankees took on the Washington Nationals in what was the first game of the 2020 Major League season.
Before the national anthem, both teams took part in the BLM moment, and it appears that everyone took a knee.
At the start of the Nationals-Yankees game, Dr. Anthony Fauci — the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and one of the lead members of President Donald Trump's White House Coronavirus Task Force — threw out the first pitch, appropriately wearing a face mask.