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A's Maxwell kneels during anthem

MLB.com @JaneMLB

OAKLAND -- A's rookie catcher Bruce Maxwell took a knee during the national anthem prior to the A's 1-0 victory over the Rangers on Saturday night.

Maxwell, who earlier in the day published an Instagram post and a series of tweets in reaction to remarks by President Donald Trump, kneeled with his hand on his heart facing the American flag as teammate Mark Canha placed his hand on Maxwell's shoulder.

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OAKLAND -- A's rookie catcher Bruce Maxwell took a knee during the national anthem prior to the A's 1-0 victory over the Rangers on Saturday night.

Maxwell, who earlier in the day published an Instagram post and a series of tweets in reaction to remarks by President Donald Trump, kneeled with his hand on his heart facing the American flag as teammate Mark Canha placed his hand on Maxwell's shoulder.

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"The point of my kneeling is not to disrespect our military," said Maxwell, an African-American who comes from a military family, having been born on a U.S. military base in Germany while his father was stationed there with the Army.

"It's not to disrespect our Constitution. It's not to disrespect our country. My hand was over my heart because I love this country. I've had plenty of family members, including my father, that have bled for this country, that continue to serve for this country. At the end of the day, this is the best country on the planet.

"My hand over my heart symbolized the fact that I am, and will forever be, an American citizen, and I'm more than forever grateful for being here. But my kneeling is what is getting the attention, because I'm kneeling for the people that don't have a voice."

Maxwell plans to continue kneeling for the anthem. Several National Football League players have followed Colin Kaepernick's example in kneeling for the anthem in the last year, attempting to raise awareness about brutality and injustice at the hands of authorities. On Friday, the President -- speaking in Huntsville, Ala., where Maxwell grew up -- made reference to players not standing for the anthem as employees who, as he put it, should be fired by their teams .

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"My decision has been coming for a long time," Maxwell said. "I was on the fence about it because nobody in baseball has ever done it. … To only single out NFL players for doing this isn't something we should be doing … because athletes, outside of the President, pretty much have the highest platform there is in this country. Everybody watches sports, everybody loves sports, so I felt like this was the right thing for me to do personally."

The A's quickly responded to Maxwell's actions on Twitter, saying, "The Oakland A's pride ourselves on being inclusive. We respect and support all of our players' Constitutional rights and freedom of expression."

Major League Baseball issued a statement Saturday night that read: "Major League Baseball has a longstanding tradition of honoring our nation prior to the start of our games. We also respect that each of our players is an individual with his own background, perspectives and opinions. We believe that our game will continue to bring our fans, their communities and our players together."

Maxwell spoke to his teammates, manager Bob Melvin and general manager David Forst before the game, alerting them of his plans and welcoming an open forum for questions. Canha said he "sensed a lot of passion coming from Bruce."

"You have a lot of people in this clubhouse from a lot of different corners of the country, different corners of the globe, and with a lot of different beliefs," Canha said. "I think there was certainly some discomfort. I mean, he's the first guy in baseball to do this. But I saw a lot of guys go up to him and give him a hug and say, 'I support you doing this. You're doing the right thing for standing up for what you believe.'"

Said Melvin: "Proud of him for the fact that he went about it the way he did."

Canha said he will continue to stand by Maxwell's side.

"He told everyone before the game what he was going to do, and I could tell he was getting kind of choked up and emotional about his beliefs and how he feels about the racial discrimination that's going on in this country right now," Canha said. "I felt like every fiber in my being was telling me that he needed a brother today." 

Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Oakland Athletics, Bruce Maxwell