A pitcher for the San Francisco Giants cited his Christian faith as the reason he refused to kneel prior to the national anthem in a team-wide show of unity for Black Lives Matter.
Pitcher Sam Coonrod, who is in his second season with the team, was the only player on either team not to kneel. Every manager, coach and staff member also kneeled, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
“I'm a Christian … and I just can't get on board with a couple of things that I have read about Black Lives Matter,” Coonrod said, referencing the national organization, not the movement. “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.”
Coonrod, who made his Major League Baseball debut in 2019, said he “meant no ill will by it.”
“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.”
Coonrod’s comments reflect a debate among the wider Christian community over the organization’s stances. Black Lives Matter, founded in 2013, says on its website: “We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and ‘villages’ that collectively care for one another.” The website further says the organization is a “queer‐affirming network” and seeks to “dismantle cisgender privilege.”
In June, Southern Baptist Convention President J.D. Greear said he disagrees with some of the organization’s stances but affirms the statement that “black lives matter.”
“We know that many in our country, particularly our brothers and sisters of color right now, are hurting,” Greear said. “Southern Baptists, we need to say it clearly: As a gospel issue, black lives matter. Of course, black lives matter. Our black brothers and sisters are made in the image of God.”
Coonrod’s Instagram bio says “Follower of Jesus Christ. John 3:3.”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Harry How/Staff
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.