Sam Coonrod, the only San Francisco Giants player who didn’t kneel for a moment of silence on Opening Day Thursday, cited his faith and his issues with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement as reasons for not taking a knee, TMZ reported.
Thursday’s Major League Baseball (MLB) Opening Day at Los Angeles’ Dodgers Stadium was unlike any other in its history. It was well over a hundred days late, due to the coronavirus pandemic. There were cardboard cutouts instead of fans in the stands, for the same reason. And before the first pitch was thrown, almost all of the players, coaches, and staff on both teams knelt for a moment of silence in support of the BLM movement.
However, Giants player Sam Coonrod remained standing. When he explained why he mentioned some issues he has with the movement.
“I can’t get on board on a couple of things I’ve read about Black Lives Matter, how they lean toward Marxism and said some negative things about the nuclear family,” the pitcher said.
He further noted that he’s a devout Christian and that he kneels for nothing other than Jesus Christ.
“I believe I can’t kneel before anything but God, Jesus Christ. I chose not to kneel. I feel if I did kneel I’d be a hypocrite. I don’t want to be a hypocrite,” he said.
Additionally, Coonrod said that the demonstration caught him by surprise and that he didn’t have time to talk it over with his teammates before it took place. The pitcher did participate with his teammates without kneeling, however. All of the players, Coonrod included, clutched a black ribbon during the moment of silence.
Coonrod’s reluctance to kneel with his teammates could potentially lead to some hard feelings in the locker room, especially with Jaylin Davis, a Black man who has spoken previously about the discrimination he’s endured.
However, Giants manager Gabe Kapler has been clear that everyone’s viewpoints on the team will be respected.
“We’re going to give them the choice whether they stand, kneel or do something else. That was a personal decision for [Coonrod],” he said.
Meanwhile, the issue of kneeling for the national anthem continues to be a part of the national conversation, and it’s come back now that sports are returning. During the performance of the national anthem at Thursday’s game in L.A., most of the players and coaches from both teams stood, though a handful chose to take a knee.