Professional sports teams and players across the country are submitting themselves before the altar of Black Lives Matter.
But one pitcher for the San Francisco Giants, Sam Coonrod, refused to bend his knee.
From NBC Sports:
Gabe Kapler spent most of this week delivering powerful messages with his actions and his words, but inside the Giants' clubhouse, the manager was crystal clear with his players.
They did not have to do anything with which they were uncomfortable. They would not be viewed any differently if they chose to take a knee during the national anthem, or if they chose to stand.
On Thursday night, before the season opener against the Dodgers, many of the Giants again chose to kneel during the anthem. But it was a moment before that which really stood out. Every player and coach from both teams took a knee before the anthem and held a long piece of black fabric in a moment of unity, with the exception of one.
The outlier was Sam Coonrod, a second-year Giants reliever who said after the game that he is a Christian and "can't kneel before anything besides God." He also said he does not agree with some of what he has heard about the Black Lives 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," Coonrod said. "How they lean toward Marxism and they've said some negative things about the nuclear family. I just can't get on board with that."
Coonrod said he did not have a chance to talk to teammates, including African-American outfielder Jaylin Davis, a leading voice in recent weeks, before the game because he did not know about the display until very late in the day, when a teammate informed him of what was going to happen. Coonrod said he decided he could not kneel, and "it was too late" at that point to talk to anyone about the decision."
The Sacrament Bee also covered the story, naturally trying to gloss over the groups links to Marxist ideological activism:
Marxism, a doctrine formed by German philosopher Karl Marx, is a political and economic way of organizing “social change through an economic lens, with the assumption that the rich and the poor should become more equal,” according to PolitiFact.
Political figures such as Rudy Giuliani and Ben Carson along with conservative talk show host Mark Levin have been arguing that the BLM movement is considered Marxist.
In a 2015 interview that recently resurfaced, BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors described herself and her fellow organizers as “trained Marxists.”
“We are trained Marxists. We are super-versed on, sort of, ideological theories,” Cullors said in an interview with The Real News Network. “And I think that what we really tried to do is build a movement that could be utilized by many, many Black folk.”
Since 2015, the Black Lives Matter movement has broadened, most of its followers recognizing the message of the movement as anti-racist and not Marxist.
“Regardless of whatever the professed politics of people may be who are prominent in the movement, they don’t represent its breadth,” Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Princeton University African American Studies professor and author of “From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation” said to PolitiFact.
“There are definitely socialists within the movement, as there have been in every single social movement in 20th century American history and today. But that does not make those socialist movements, it makes them mass movements.”
Coonrod said he meant no “ill-will” by standing.
“I’m not mad at someone who decided to kneel,” the pitcher said. “I just don’t think it’s too much to ask that I just get the same respect.”
In a climate where just about every institution in the country is selling out to a violent movement, it's a blessing that some are still willing to stand for their beliefs.