Sam Coonrod was the only player standing.
Sam Coonrod was the only player standing.

San Francisco Giants pitcher Sam Coonrod was the only player to remain standing during a “moment of unity” honoring the Black Lives Matter movement before the season opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“I meant no ill will by it,” Coonrod said. “I don’t think I’m better than anybody. I’m just a Christian. I believe I can’t kneel before anything but God, Jesus Christ. I chose not to kneel. I feel if I did kneel I’d be a hypocrite. I don’t want to be a hypocrite.”

Before The National Anthem on opening night, every player and coach from both the Dodgers and Giants held a long piece of black fabric, and all but Coonrad knelt. Coonrod held the fabric along with everyone else, but remained standing.

The moment of silence was intended to support the Black Lives Matter movement, which Coonrod said he has had difficulty embracing.

“I just can’t get on board with a couple things I’ve read about Black Lives Matter, how they lean towards Marxism,” he continued. “And … they said some negative things about the nuclear family. I just can’t get on board with that.”

Team manager Gabe Kapler, who kneeled during the ribbon ceremony as well as during the national anthem, said he respects Coonrod’s decision to stand.

“The one thing that we said is we were going to let people express themselves,” Kapler said. “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.”

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