Donald Trump attorney and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani slammed Major League Baseball players for kneeling in protest during the national anthem on Thursday, singling out his beloved Yankees, who actually demonstrated before The Star-Spangled Banner was even played.
‘All those ball players, including the Yankees, taking a knee during the National Anthem of the country that made them millionaires is hypocritical,’ Giuliani wrote on Twitter, before attacking the Black Lives Matter movement.
‘Support for BLM, which is provoking attacks on our law enforcement and innocent people all over America, is disgraceful.’
Giuliani was clearly mistaken.
While a handful of San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers took a knee to protest racist police brutality during the national anthem in the late game at Dodger Stadium, both the Washington Nationals and New York Yankees stood for the duration of The Star-Spangled Banner before their opener.
Donald Trump attorney and ex-New York mayor Rudy Giuliani slammed MLB players for kneeling in protest during the national anthem on Thursday, singling out his beloved Yankees, who actually demonstrated before The Star-Spangled Banner was even played
In a joint demonstration of support for the Black Lives Matter movement, players, managers and coaches of the New York Yankees and Washington Nationals knelt in unison before the opening game of the 2020 baseball season, then stood for the national anthem Thursday night
Giuliani, perhaps unaware that the anthem wasn’t playing while the Yankees knelt, attacked the team on Friday while also saying that any support for Black Lives Matter is ‘disgraceful’
Yankees President Randy Levine defended his players from Giuliani
‘I think Rudy got it absolutely wrong,’ Levine said in a statement to the New York Times’ James Wagner. ‘The display of unity that was done last evening by our players and players across the league was beautiful, respectful and dignified. To me, it showed unity and the desire for a better world, social justice and enlightenment. I didn’t and nobody should take that as being disrespectful of anyone, including law enforcement or the police.’
In a joint demonstration of support for the Black Lives Matter movement, players, managers and coaches of the New York Yankees and Washington Nationals knelt in unison before the opening game of the 2020 baseball season, then stood for the national anthem Thursday night.
‘We wanted to do something united, something together,’ Yankees slugger Aaron Judge said after New York’s 4-1 victory, called in the sixth inning because of rain at Nationals Park.
‘We’ve got a lot of guys in this clubhouse with different beliefs, different feelings, different walks of life and from different countries,’ Judge said. ‘And we want to respect all that and as a team we came to the decision to kneel right before the anthem.’
Yankees President Randy Levine (right) defended his players from Rudy Giuliani (left) on Friday
Players from both clubs wore T-shirts saying Black Lives Matter during batting practice in Washington, and the letters ‘BLM’ were stenciled into the back of the mound at the center of the diamond.
Then, in a poignant reference to the racial reckoning happening in the U.S., players and other members of both teams held a long black ribbon while standing spaced out along the two foul lines. After they placed the ribbon on the ground, everyone got on their knees.
‘We know there are issues in this country and we need changes. We need changes for the better. These guys all understand that,’ Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. ‘This was for a major cause, we believe in it, and we did what we could.’
Yankees players decided Wednesday they wanted to kneel for 60 seconds before the anthem.
‘We’ve had conversations as an organization. We’ve had conversations as a team. We’ve had smaller group conversations. Conversations with one another,’ New York manager Aaron Boone said. ‘And we’ve kind of decided … we’ll, as a team, have our own demonstration on the field.’
New York officials then asked Washington if that time could be added to the pregame script.
The Nationals decided they wanted to join the Yankees.
‘It was important for us, and for the Yankees, that everybody bought in and we had full participation and presented a united front during that moment,’ Doolittle said. ‘Holding the ribbon, kneeling, to show support for the other athletes who have done it in other sports … to show support for the movement of Black Lives Matter and ending police brutality and racism and injustice.’
Hours later in Los Angeles, the Giants and Dodgers also held a black ribbon that wound along the baselines, although San Francisco reliever Sam Coonrod declined to stand, saying that it violated his religious beliefs.
‘I’m a Christian, like I said, and I just can’t get on board with a couple of things that I have read about Black Lives Matter,’ Coonrod said, as quoted by NBC Sports. ‘How they lean toward Marxism and they’ve said some negative things about the nuclear family. I just can’t get on board with that.’
‘I meant no ill will by it,’ Coonrod said of his decision. ‘I don’t think I’m better than anyone… I’m a Christian, so I just believe that I can’t kneel before anything besides God.
‘I’m not mad at someone who decided to kneel,’ he continued. ‘I just don’t think it’s too much to ask that I just get the same respect.
‘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.’
Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts, who signed a 12-year, $365 million contract on Wednesday, and some of the Giants kneeled as anthem singer Keith Williams Jr. stood in the new center field seating at Dodger Stadium instead of the usual spot near home plate.
In a video, 98-year-old Rachel Robinson, whose husband, Jackie, broke the major league color barrier in 1947, gave the traditional call: ‘It’s time for Dodger baseball.’