When MLB players knelt to honor the Black Lives Matter movement ahead of the season opener, San Francisco Giants pitcher Sam Coonrod was the only player who remained standing, later explaining that, as a Christian, he doesn’t kneel before "anything besides God."
At the opening day game Thursday between the Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodgers Stadium, all the players, except the 27-year-old relief pitcher, kneeled as they held a long black ribbon provided by Major League Baseball organization.
“I’m a Christian, so I just believe that I can’t kneel before anything besides God,” Coonrod said, according to TMZ Sports.
The pitcher explained the gesture meant “no ill will.”
“I don’t think I’m better than anybody. I’m just a Christian ... I feel if I did kneel I’d be a hypocrite. I don’t want to be a hypocrite,” he said, according to San Francisco Chronicle.
“I just can’t get on board with a couple things I’ve read about Black Lives Matter, how they lean toward Marxism. And … they said some negative things about the nuclear family. I just can’t get on board with that,” he was quoted as saying.
“I’m not mad at someone who decided to kneel. I just don’t think it’s too much to ask that I just get the same respect,” he further explained.
Giants team manager Gabe Kapler said he respected Coonrod’s decision.
“We were going to give them the choice on whether they were going to stand, kneel or do something else. That was a personal decision for Sam,” Kapler said.
Sports Illustrated writer Dan Gartland, however, criticized Coonrod in an op-ed, saying, “If a central tenet of Christianity is treating others with love and respect, it’s not clear how not joining a call for just that would be hypocritical.”
Rod Dreher, a senior editor at The American Conservative, responded to Gartland's criticism of Coonrod.
Would Gartland have said the same “if Coonrod were a Muslim, and he politely declined to eat something with pork in it that was offered to him?” Dreher asked.
“The Coonrod-Gartland thing is another example of why it’s so difficult to talk about racial conflict and religion today,” he wrote before quoting Ken Myers of Mars Hill Audio Journal.
“The current public strife about the significance of race is typically discussed within the very conceptual framework that has promoted (and will continue to intensify) social fragmentation, political hostility, and violence,” Myers wrote in a fundraising letter. “It helps no one to present claims about the meaning of racial identity without recognizing how a radically secularized understanding of personhood and social order guarantees unresolvable antagonisms.”
Myers continued: “Attitudes of the living and the dead are judged to be vicious and unforgivable; institutions are guilty and must be demolished or (more moderately) reformed. But parties on all sides — whether they aim to tear down, rebuild, or defend — typically fail to ask if these systemic injustices (real or perceived) are more than moral and bureaucratic failures, if in fact they emerge from a coordinated pattern of imagining, thinking, and acting which inevitably encourages conflict and discord.”
Writing for The Christian Post, Michael Brown, host of the daily talk show “the Line of Fire,” recently argued that “the BLM organization is dangerous, anti-Christian, and should be avoided.”