Bruce Maxwell made headlines when, as a catcher for the Oakland Athletics, he became the first and only player in Major League Baseball to kneel for “The Star-Spangled Banner” during the wave of national anthem protests in 2017.
Now he’s in a place where he’s probably not hearing it very much.
Maxwell, a 28-year-old catcher, is currently playing in the Mexican minor leagues for Acereros de Monclova, an unaffiliated Triple-A team in the northern city of Monclova.
Now, granted, there might be plenty of other reasons why Maxwell isn’t on an MLB roster or a minor league team affiliated with a major league team and is instead playing in a Mexican city with a population of 230,000.
The fact that he was a career .240 hitter in the majors probably didn’t help. Neither does the fact that he’s getting old-ish side for a position that tends to put more wear and tear on a player.
Oh, and then there’s the fact that he pulled a gun on a delivery woman a month after he started kneeling. That’s kind of a problem, too.
The saga began in September of 2017, when Maxwell joined NFL players protesting the anthem by taking a knee during “The Star-Spangled Banner” before a game. A month later, he was arrested at his Arizona home after what he says was a misunderstanding.
“While Ubering home after watching football with friends on an October Saturday in suburban Phoenix, Maxwell, who admittedly had been drinking, ordered food delivery via Postmates,” Bleacher Report’s Scott Miller wrote in February. “Disoriented at the time, he initially told police that he had canceled the delivery before later saying he simply forgot he had placed the order.
“Having absorbed several weeks’ worth of social media vitriol and death threats after kneeling — and death threats directed at his family, too, he says — Maxwell says he had descended into a ‘dark place.’ So when a loud knock hit his metal-grated door, he says he was startled.”
“Me being on the edge; me having all those things going through my mind — my family getting threatened — I answered my door with my weapon in my hand,” he told Miller. “Once I saw who it was, I was startled. Obviously, I startled the young lady.
“I apologized to her, told her to hold on. I went and put [the gun] away. I came back and told her I’m sorry; I’m going through some things right now and I didn’t know who was at my door. She was like, no, it’s fine. We had a short little dialogue. She walked away. I told my lawyers that the last thing I’d ever want to do is have a woman feel threatened in my presence. I grew up in a house with two older sisters, a mom.”
However, according to Miller, a police report says that the woman was “visibly upset and crying when I initially contacted her” and said she was “staring straight at the barrel of a silver handgun” during the encounter.
The report, according to Miller, also said that Maxwell had “held the gun to the side of the door inside the residences (sic) as it appeared he still had the gun in his hand” as the food exchange occurred.
After an arrest in which police say Maxwell refused to comply with their request to get down on his knees, body camera footage that leaked to TMZ also showed an angry Maxwell saying “f— baseball” and “f— the MLB,” something he claims was precipitated by a comment from an officer who was also a former minor league teammate of his.
Maxwell was eventually sentenced to two years’ probation and community service after a plea deal during the summer, according to Bleacher Report.
That wasn’t all that might scare off major-league teams, either.
“Another concern, related to Maxwell’s decision to kneel, was an incident at a Huntsville, Ala., restaurant in October 2017,” the San Francisco Chronicle noted in an article last December. “Maxwell told the Athletics that a member of the waitstaff had refused to serve him because he had not stood up for the national anthem; the server told TMZ that Maxwell had misportrayed what transpired and that one of Maxwell’s friends did not have identification, so was not allowed to order alcohol. A city councilman in Maxwell’s party backed Maxwell’s version of events, with the restaurant sticking by the server.”
While the A’s kept him on the roster for 2018, they would eventually demote him to the minor leagues. In November, he became a free agent. No team came a-knocking during the offseason, which led to him firing his agent late last year, the Chronicle reported.
“He obviously believes that another agent would be more successful in finding him a job,” former Maxwell agent Matt Sosnick told the Chronicle. “It’s absolutely Bruce’s prerogative to be represented by another company and, quite frankly, it takes a lot of pressure off of me.”
Sosnick also said he spoke to every MLB team twice in an effort to secure a minor-league deal for his client. Maxwell finally managed to sign a contract in March with Acereros de Monclova, according to NBC.
There’s still some disagreement with those in the majors over whether Maxwell’s decision to kneel for the anthem has had any effect on the fact he remains unsigned.
“It’s the kneeling thing that might keep him from getting another job, not the arrest,” one major-league executive told The Chronicle. “Owners aren’t going to want to deal with that whole anthem issue.”
However, other teams voiced concerns regarding his arrest — in particular, the Chronicle said, “the anti-police sentiment that Maxwell voiced in a video of his arrest released by the Scottsdale police department.”
“This is not a Colin Kaepernick situation,” one source told the newspaper. “This is if Colin Kaepernick had knelt for the anthem and also been arrested for a gun crime.”
“I just don’t see him as a fit for us,” a National League scout told The Score for an article published in December. “He’s on the older side and there is too much baggage. He might have to play independent ball to try to work his way back.”
And that’s what he’s doing now. As of Monday, he’s hitting .373 at Acereros de Monclova, with three home runs and 28 hits in 75 at-ats. Those aren’t bad numbers for a catcher.
On the other hand, that’s still a lot of baggage — and all of it, Maxwell seems to claim, stemmed from his decision to kneel for the national anthem.
Pulling a gun on a delivery woman after a night of drinking? National anthem protest.
Anti-police sentiments while he was arrested? National anthem protest.
Odd incident in a restaurant where eyewitness reports are at variance? National anthem protest.
Perhaps it really was the anthem protest. More likely, it’s the fact he seems to downplay his personal responsibility for everything that’s happened since by bringing up the anthem protests.
Whatever the case, he’s in a situation where he doesn’t have to hear “The Star-Spangled Banner” all that often these days.
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