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Stevie Wonder, Bruce Maxwell take a knee to defy Trump

  • An Oakland Athletics baseball player became the first major leaguer to take a knee during the national anthem on Saturday 
  • Bruce Maxwell knelt as he held his baseball cap against the left side of his torso during the national anthem before his team’s game at the Oakland Coliseum 
  • In New York, pop music legend Stevie Wonder began his appearance at a concert in Central Park by dropping down to one knee ‘for America’ 

By Ariel Zilber For Dailymail.com and Reuters

Published: 23:03 EDT, 23 September 2017 | Updated: 00:09 EDT, 24 September 2017

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America didn’t have to wait until Sunday to see if sports stars and celebrities would take a knee in defiance of President Donald Trump.

An Oakland Athletics baseball player became the first major leaguer to take a knee during the national anthem on Saturday.

Later that same evening, pop music legend Stevie Wonder began his appearance at a concert in New York’s Central Park by dropping down to one knee in an act he said was ‘for America.’

In Oakland, Athletics rookie catcher Bruce Maxwell knelt as he held his baseball cap against the left side of his torso during the singing of the national anthem before his team’s game against the Texas Rangers at the Oakland Coliseum.

Teammate Mark Canha placed his hand on Maxwell’s shoulder.

Bruce Maxwell, an Oakland Athletics baseball player, became the first major leaguer to take a knee during the national anthem on Saturday
Bruce Maxwell, an Oakland Athletics baseball player, became the first major leaguer to take a knee during the national anthem on Saturday

Bruce Maxwell, an Oakland Athletics baseball player, became the first major leaguer to take a knee during the national anthem on Saturday

Later that same evening, pop music legend Stevie Wonder began his appearance at a concert in New York¿s Central Park by dropping down to one knee in an act he said was ¿for America¿
Later that same evening, pop music legend Stevie Wonder began his appearance at a concert in New York¿s Central Park by dropping down to one knee in an act he said was ¿for America¿

Later that same evening, pop music legend Stevie Wonder began his appearance at a concert in New York’s Central Park by dropping down to one knee in an act he said was ‘for America’

Wonder was helped by his son, Kwame Morris. Soon afterward, Wonder was trending on Twitter
Wonder was helped by his son, Kwame Morris. Soon afterward, Wonder was trending on Twitter

Wonder was helped by his son, Kwame Morris. Soon afterward, Wonder was trending on Twitter

Earlier in the day, Maxwell posted a number of tweets denouncing Trump for saying that the NFL should bar players who knelt during the anthem in protest of police shootings of African Americans.

He also hinted that he would take a knee during the anthem – a gesture that no other professional baseball player has made since the trend was first started last year by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Maxwell, who is black, tweeted earlier Saturday: ‘Don't be surprised if you start seeing athletes kneeling in other sports now!! Comments like that coming from our president. WOW!’

He also tweeted: ‘Yeah I bet [Trump] doesn't step to Kaepernick in person and call him and the other protesters a "son of a b***h." Ignorance from our Pres.’

Teammate Mark Canha placed his hand on Maxwell¿s shoulder in a show of support
Teammate Mark Canha placed his hand on Maxwell¿s shoulder in a show of support

Teammate Mark Canha placed his hand on Maxwell’s shoulder in a show of support

Maxwell was born in Wiesbaden, Germany, where his father was stationed as a soldier in the Army
Maxwell was born in Wiesbaden, Germany, where his father was stationed as a soldier in the Army
Maxwell was born in Wiesbaden, Germany, where his father was stationed as a soldier in the Army
Maxwell was born in Wiesbaden, Germany, where his father was stationed as a soldier in the Army

Maxwell was born in Wiesbaden, Germany, where his father was stationed as a soldier in the US Army

Earlier in the day, Maxwell posted a number of tweets denouncing Trump for saying that the NFL should bar players who knelt during the anthem in protest of police shootings of African Americans. He also hinted that he would stage a similar protest
Earlier in the day, Maxwell posted a number of tweets denouncing Trump for saying that the NFL should bar players who knelt during the anthem in protest of police shootings of African Americans. He also hinted that he would stage a similar protest

Earlier in the day, Maxwell posted a number of tweets denouncing Trump for saying that the NFL should bar players who knelt during the anthem in protest of police shootings of African Americans. He also hinted that he would stage a similar protest

Maxwell¿s team, the Athletics, issued a statement on Twitter supporting their player¿s decision to kneel during the anthem
Maxwell¿s team, the Athletics, issued a statement on Twitter supporting their player¿s decision to kneel during the anthem

Maxwell’s team, the Athletics, issued a statement on Twitter supporting their player’s decision to kneel during the anthem

‘Inequality is being displayed bigger than ever right now as our president shows that freeedom of protest and speech is not allowed,’ he tweeted.

Maxwell’s team, the Athletics, issued a statement on Twitter supporting their player’s decision to kneel during the anthem.

‘The Oakland A’s pride ourselves on being inclusive. We respect and support all our players’ constitutional rights and freedom of expression.’

Maxwell was born in Wiesbaden, Germany, where his father was stationed as a soldier in the Army, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

President Donald Trump continued his Twitter war with the National Football League on Saturday, this time taking aim at Commissioner Roger Goodell for permitting players to protest by kneeling during the national anthem
President Donald Trump continued his Twitter war with the National Football League on Saturday, this time taking aim at Commissioner Roger Goodell for permitting players to protest by kneeling during the national anthem

President Donald Trump continued his Twitter war with the National Football League on Saturday, this time taking aim at Commissioner Roger Goodell for permitting players to protest by kneeling during the national anthem

Trump and Goodell are seen together in 2008 at a New York Jets kickoff party. The commissioner has called Trump's latest remarks 'divisive'
Trump and Goodell are seen together in 2008 at a New York Jets kickoff party. The commissioner has called Trump's latest remarks 'divisive'

Trump and Goodell are seen together in 2008 at a New York Jets kickoff party. The commissioner has called Trump's latest remarks 'divisive'

 

He grew up in Alabama and defines himself as a patriotic American.

‘Bruce's father is a proud military lifer,’ his agent, Matt Sosnick, told the Chronicle.

‘Anyone who knows Bruce or his parents is well aware that the Maxwells’ love and appreciation for our country is indisputable.

‘Bruce has made it clear that he is taking a stand about what he perceives as racial injustices in this country, and his personal disappointment with President Trump's response to a number of professional athletes' totally peaceful, non-violent protests.

‘Bruce has shared with both me and his teammates that his feelings have nothing to do with a lack of patriotism or a hatred of any man, but rather everything to do with equality for men, women and children regardless of race or religion.’

Meanwhile, on the opposite coast of the United States, pop legend Stevie Wonder began his set at the Global Citizen Festival in New York’s Central Park by declaring: ‘I’m taking a knee for America.’

Wonder then dropped down to both knees as he was helped by his son, Kwame Morris.

Footage of the dramatic moment was captured by MSNBC, which broadcast the event.

Trump and the sports world engaged in an intensifying spat on Saturday after he called for National Football League owners to fire players who protest during the national anthem. Eli Harold (58), Colin Kaepernick (7), and Eric Reid are seen protesting during a game this year
Trump and the sports world engaged in an intensifying spat on Saturday after he called for National Football League owners to fire players who protest during the national anthem. Eli Harold (58), Colin Kaepernick (7), and Eric Reid are seen protesting during a game this year

Trump and the sports world engaged in an intensifying spat on Saturday after he called for National Football League owners to fire players who protest during the national anthem. Eli Harold (58), Colin Kaepernick (7), and Eric Reid are seen protesting during a game this year

'Wouldn¿t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, "Get that son of a b***h off the field right now... He is fired",' Trump said on Friday at a rally for Alabama Senate Republican candidate Luther Strange
'Wouldn¿t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, "Get that son of a b***h off the field right now... He is fired",' Trump said on Friday at a rally for Alabama Senate Republican candidate Luther Strange

'Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, "Get that son of a b***h off the field right now... He is fired",' Trump said on Friday at a rally for Alabama Senate Republican candidate Luther Strange

Both Wonder and Maxwell became trending topics on Twitter after a day in which professional athletes reacted with anger to Trump’s comments on Friday about protesting football players. 

Trump and the sports world engaged in an intensifying spat on Saturday after he called for National Football League owners to fire players who protest during the national anthem and disinvited a National Basketball Association star from a White House visit.

Responding to Trump’s attacks on football players who protested during the national anthem, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said on Saturday that Trump’s statements revealed 'unfortunate lack of respect' for the NFL and its players.

Goodell’s statement was released a day after Trump suggested any protesting football player was a 'son of a b***h' and should lose his job.

'Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, "Get that son of a b***h off the field right now... He is fired",' Trump said on Friday at a rally for Alabama Senate Republican candidate Luther Strange.

Later on Saturday, Trump said in Twitter messages, that if NFL players wanted 'the privilege' of high salaries they 'should stand for the National Anthem. If not, YOU‘RE FIRED. Find something else to do!'

Kaepernick stirred a polarizing national debate in 2016 after refusing to stand during pre-game renditions of the Star Spangled Banner to protest police violence against African-Americans. 

Several players have made similar gestures of protest before games since Kaepernick initiated his protest.

As commissioner, Goodell reports to NFL owners, some of whom have supported Trump in the past. 

NBA superstar LeBron James posted a video to social media on Saturday explaining his tweet in which he called Trump 'a bum' for disinviting fellow hoops star Stephen Curry to the White House
NBA superstar LeBron James posted a video to social media on Saturday explaining his tweet in which he called Trump 'a bum' for disinviting fellow hoops star Stephen Curry to the White House

NBA superstar LeBron James posted a video to social media on Saturday explaining his tweet in which he called Trump 'a bum' for disinviting fellow hoops star Stephen Curry to the White House

New York Jets owner Woody Johnson, a major Trump presidential campaign donor, was confirmed by the Senate last month as Trump’s pick to serve as US ambassador to Britain.

The union representing professional football players also rejected Trump’s comments, saying it would defend their right to freedom of expression.

'This union will never back down when it comes to protecting the constitutional rights of our players as citizens,' tweeted DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the National Football League Players Association, referring to the First Amendment’s guarantee of the right to free speech.

The White House could not be reached immediately to comment on the statements by Goodell or the union.

NBA players also struck back against comments by the president on Saturday.

In an early morning Twitter message on Saturday, the president rescinded a White House invitation to basketball star Stephen Curry, who had said he would 'vote' against the planned visit by the NBA champion Golden State Warriors.  

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