SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — Major League Baseball had its first games of the 2020 season played on Thursday after the season was delayed due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The Washington Nationals hosted the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers hosted their rival, the San Francisco Giants, on Opening Day.
All players, coaches and managers from all four organizations took a knee in unison before the national anthem to honor the Black Lives Matter movement, and then proceeded to stand for the playing of the national anthem.
Every single player participated in the moment — which was approved by Major League Baseball — except Giants’ pitcher Sam Coonrod.
Coonrod said he refuses to kneel during the moment of unity, using his religion behind his reasoning.
“I’m a Christian,” the 27-year-old relief pitcher said. “So I just believe that I can’t kneel before anything besides God.”
While nearly all players and staff from the four teams who played Thursday stood during the anthem, San Francisco Giants Manager Gabe Kapler joined two Giants players and one Dodgers player in taking a knee.
Giants’ outfielder Mike Yastrzemski and third baseman Pablo Sandoval knelt during the National Anthem.
Mookie Betts was the only Dodger kneeling during the anthem, with teammates Max Muncy and Cody Bellinger placing their hands on his shoulders.