New York Yankees outfielders Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Hicks drew eyeballs on Thursday when they were among the first MLB players to kneel during the national anthem upon the season’s delayed start.
Stanton and Hicks explained their reasons for kneeling during the anthem in an interview with USA Today on Saturday. Only former Oakland Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell knelt for the anthem in 2017 prior to the outpouring of support for the Black Lives Matter movement in June.
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“Now is when people will finally listen,” Stanton said. “Things have come to light. There’s more video cameras, more evidence of what’s going on.”
According to USA Today, Stanton and Hicks told manager Aaron Boone during a team meeting Wednesday their intentions to kneel during the national anthem prior to their game against the Washington Nationals.
“To show that we’re still in this fight. We have to keep the movement moving forward,” Stanton told the newspaper. “For basic human rights in America. For equality. For all of us to have a fair shake.”
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Hicks added: “As a Black man living in America I feel like I should be judged by my character and not by my skin tone. Unfortunately, growing up, that’s what’s happened.”
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Several players throughout baseball decided to kneel during the national anthem to protest against racial injustice and police brutality. The actions follow Colin Kaepernick, who launched the movement during the 2016 NFL season.