Bruce Maxwell, the first and only Major League Baseball player to kneel during the national anthem, says he “wasn’t even home four hours” before he had to deal with a pro-Donald Trump supporter who was still big mad over the ball player’s gesture.
The Oakland Athletics player told TMZ Sports that he had just returned to his hometown of Huntsville, Ala., and was grabbing lunch with a friend when he was denied service by a server.
“He was like, ‘You’re the guy who took the knee,’” Maxwell told the online media outlet. The server then told Maxwell that he voted for Trump and that he “stand[s] for everything [Trump] stands for.”
“He denied us service at lunch, and they had to go get us another waiter to wait on our table at that same restaurant,” the 26-year-old catcher said.
Maxwell’s lunch companion, also black, is a Huntsville city councilman. After the confrontation, the councilman spoke with the restaurant’s manager and was able to get another server to wait on them.
Coincidentally, Trump’s infamous remarks expressing his wish that NFL owners could fire any “son of a bitch” who kneels during the national anthem were delivered at a campaign rally in Huntsville. And, in fact, during the exchange at the restaurant, the pro-Trump server told Maxwell that he was at Trump’s rally.
Trump’s incendiary remarks were a clear allusion to Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco ’49ers quarterback who began kneeling during the anthem last season to highlight racial injustice. Maxwell, the son of a military veteran, became the first baseball player to join in the protests in a game against the Texas Rangers one month ago.
“If it ends up driving me out of baseball, then so be it,” Maxwell said at the time. “This is bigger than a monetary standpoint. This is bigger than the uniform I put on every day. This is about the people in this country, and we all deserve to be treated equally. That’s the whole purpose of us taking a knee during the national anthem.”
Since then, he’s become friends with the former quarterback, who is still without a job. Maxwell says that he and Kaepernick talk regularly.
“His friendship definitely helps. His guidance comes through that. And just being able to use him as a sounding board some days does me some good,” Maxwell told TMZ.
Read more at TMZ Sports.