July 28 (UPI) — The New York Mets are finalizing a deal with former Oakland Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell, who was the first MLB player to kneel during the national anthem.
League sources told Newsday and MLB Media on Tuesday that Maxwell agreed to a short-term contract with the Mets. According to the outlets, Maxwell’s pact is pending a physical and coronavirus intake testing.
Maxwell hasn’t played in the majors since 2018, when he was a member of the A’s. In the 2017 season, he became the first major league player to kneel during the national anthem to protest racial injustice. His actions came in response to President Donald Trump’s comments that NFL players who didn’t stand for the anthem should be “fired.”
In an interview with ESPN earlier this month, Maxwell said he was still “bitter as [expletive]” over the lack of support he received from other MLB players and executives at the time.
Up until this season, Maxwell was the only major leaguer to take a knee during the anthem.
“The season’s going to resume. They’re going to get more fame because it’s going to look like they’re standing up for what’s right,” Maxwell said. “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 [expletive], and I’m not hiding it.”
Maxwell, along with his agent and Athletics president Billy Beane, acknowledged in ESPN’s story that the catcher declined a chance to return to the A’s in spring training this year before the coronavirus pandemic delayed the start of the 2020 season.
Maxwell, 29, was arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in October 2017. He later reached a plea agreement and was sentenced to two years of probation for disorderly conduct.
Maxwell spent the 2019 season with Acereros de Monclova of the Mexican League, recording a .325 batting average with 24 home runs and 112 RBIs in 109 games. He had a .240 average with five homers and 42 RBIs over parts of three seasons with the Athletics from 2016-18.