During the MLB’s racial justice demonstration, Giants reliever Sam Coonrod refused to kneel, citing his faith.
Yahoo reports the MLB was the star of the sports world on Thursday night as the league became the latest professional sport to get underway.
Players for both the New York Yankees and Washington Nationals knelt along the foul lines holding a black ribbon during a moment of silence and then stood for the national anthem. It was a demonstration for racial unity that played out similarly in the second game of the night between the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants.
The only player who didn’t kneel during either of the pregame ceremonies was Giants reliever Sam Coonrod.
Giants’ Coonrod says he only kneels before God
The teams held a long black ribbon while keeping socially distant and spreading out from foul pole to foul pole. After a moment of silence while they knelt, a video featuring narration by Morgan Freeman played. The demonstration will reportedly be at every opening day game this week, per James Wagner of the New York Times.
"Today, we are one." pic.twitter.com/fqH8NkJm8A
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) July 24, 2020
Coonrod, a second-year reliever, did not take part in the ceremony and instead stood behind first base at the edge of the infield dirt. He said afterward it was because he is a Christian and “I can’t kneel before anything besides God.”
Via Alex Pavlovic for NBC Sports Bay Area:
“I meant no ill will by it. I don’t think I’m better than anyone,” Coonrod said after the game. “I’m a Christian. I just believe I can’t kneel before anything besides God — Jesus Christ.
“I chose not to kneel. I feel that if I did kneel, I would be being a hypocrite. I didn’t want to be a hypocrite. Like I said, I didn’t mean any ill will toward anyone.”
Coonrod said he didn’t talk to anyone about his decision before the game because he only learned about it late in the day