Before the start of the season-opening game between the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers, all of the players, managers, and coaches kneeled together while holding a black cloth before the national anthem in honor of the Black Lives Matter movement. However, Giants' relief pitcher Sam Coonrod was the only one who didn't kneel and explained why after the game. He said because of his Christian faith, he "can't kneel before anything besides God." He also said he doesn't agree with everything about the Black Live Matter movement.
"I'm a Christian like I said, and I just can't get on board with a couple of things that I have read about Black Lives Matter. How they lean towards Marxism, and they've said some negative things about the nuclear family," Coonrod said via USA Today. "I just can't get on board with that." Giants manager Gabe Kapler was asked about Coonrod's choice of not kneeling, and he said he's all about his players standing up for what they believe in.
"The one thing that we said is we were going to let people express themselves," Kapler said. "We were going to give them the choice on whether they were going to stand, kneel or do something else. That was a personal decision for Sam." Kapler also took a knee during the Giants exhibition game earlier in the week, which made him the first MLB manager to protest the racial injustice in that manner. At that time, Kapler said he "wouldn't pass judgment on them for making any statement or standing up for what they believe in, or expressing themselves."
"We're proud of our players and staff for continuing to participate in the national conversation about racial injustice, said Farhan Zaidi, the Giants' president of baseball operations. "We support those who knelt to peacefully protest racial injustice and those who stood to express love of country. We do not see these as mutually exclusive sentiments and believe the freedom to express both is what our country is about."
The Giants-Dodgers contest was one of two MLB Opening Day games on Thursday night. The first game featured the New York Yankees and Washington Nationals, and all players, coaches and managers honored the Black Lives Matter movement by kneeling before the national anthem while holding a cloth.