PHILADELPHIA -- Athletes' protests to raise awareness about injustice and brutality at the hands of authorities reached Major League Baseball this weekend when A's catcher Bruce Maxwell took a knee during the national anthem on Saturday and Sunday, and has said he will continue to do so. On Monday, Nationals manager Dusty Baker addressed the topic.
Baker is a 68-year-old veteran of the Marine Corps Reserves who grew up during the height of the Civil Rights Movement, began his career in the Deep South during that time and has been outspoken about the racial challenges he has faced throughout his career.
"A person should be allowed to do whatever they want to do, but they have to suffer the consequences for those actions," Baker said. "Had I not been a former military or had I been young like those guys, who knows what I would have done?
"At the same time, the bottom line is, there's a problem. There is a problem. We have to adjust and try to figure out how to find a solution to the problem. And I've seen this problem manifest itself many times over the years. We've been talking about the same problems I had when I was 18 or 19 years old, so have we made progress or have we regressed? It's up to us to try to figure out how to come up with a solution."
Maxwell's decision came one day after President Donald Trump made reference to NFL players not standing for the anthem as employees who, as he put it, should be fired by their teams. The president then rescinded an invitation to Stephen Curry of the NBA's Golden State Warriors to the White House after Curry already had stated he would not visit the White House for a congratulatory ceremony. On Sunday, many NFL players kneeled for the anthem, following the form of protest taken by former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
"We do need to listen to the youth of this country," Baker said. "I have a young son and sometimes he makes sense. Sometimes. Sometimes, he puts a thought in my brain."
Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.