Report: Bruce Maxwell, first MLB player to kneel during national anthem, signs with Mets

Oakland Athletics' Bruce Maxwell (13) kneels next to Oakland Athletics' Mark Canha (20) during the National Anthem before their game against the Seattle Mariners at the Coliseum in Oakland, Calif., on Monday, September 25, 2017. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group) (Photo by MediaNews Group/Bay Area News via Getty Images)

Bruce Maxwell is coming back to MLB — and a lot has changed since his he first took a knee during the national anthem in 2017.

Maxwell, a 29-year-old catcher, has reportedly signed a deal with the New York Mets, according to Newsday. He’ll join the Mets’ taxi squad, according to Tim Britton of The Athletic. As a member of the Oakland A’s in 2017, Maxwell became the first player in MLB to take a knee during the anthem.

From Newsday’s report:

Maxwell arrived in New York on Monday. His contract is pending a physical and him passing the coronavirus intake testing that all players went through at the beginning of camp early this month.

This is Maxwell’s first job in affiliated baseball since the end of the 2018 season when the A’s cut him.

Maxwell was previously playing pro baseball in Mexico and had recently turned down a chance to re-join the A’s. He said he was still bitter that he didn’t get more support for his protest from his MLB peers in 2017. He recently told ESPN’s Howard Bryant:

"The season's gonna resume. They're going to get more fame because it's going to look like they're standing up for what's right," Maxwell says. "They're making T-shirts and they're showing they care, but they don't go back to the original sacrificed person. Where was all of this then? It's easy to talk because everyone's talking. I was out there by myself. I'm bitter as f---, and I'm not hiding it."

Maxwell was right. This season more players — and even Giants manager Gabe Kapler — have been taking a knee during the anthem to stand up for social justice. Signing Maxwell shouldn’t be viewed as solely a political statement.

Fact is, the way baseball is being played in 2020, catchers have become even more of a premium position. In the 60-game sprint to the postseason, teams need to be ready for any injuries or positive COVID-19 tests coming their way. The Atlanta Braves already lost two of their catchers hours before opening day and half of the Miami Marlins roster has tested positive.

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