Bruce Maxwell is first MLB player to kneel during anthem

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Oakland Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell kneels during the National Anthem before the start of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. Bruce Maxwell of the Oakland Athletics has become the first major league baseball player to kneel during the national anthem. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Oakland Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell kneels during the National Anthem before the start of Saturday's game against the Texas Rangers (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Oakland Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first Major League Baseball player to kneel during the pregame playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" when he dropped to a knee prior to Oakland's game against the Texas Rangers Saturday night.

Maxwell's teammates stood in a line next to him. Teammate Mark Canha, who is white, put his right hand on one of Maxwell's shoulders.

The Athletics released a statement on Twitter shortly after the anthem, saying they "respect and support all of our players' constitutional rights and freedom of expression."

Maxwell's protest comes after President Donald Trump denounced protests by NFL players and rescinded a White House invitation for NBA champion Stephen Curry in a two-day rant that targeted top professional athletes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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