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Giants reliever Sam Coonrod explains why he didn’t kneel for Black Lives Matter moment before opener – USA TODAY

, USA TODAY
Published 9:28 a.m. ET July 24, 2020 | Updated 9:37 a.m. ET July 24, 2020

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During a moment of solidarity Thursday in the season opener, players, managers and coaches on the Giants and Dodgers kneeled together while holding a black cloth before the national anthem. All but one. 

San Francisco reliever Sam Coonrod was the only person on either club who did not kneel during the moment used to support the Black Lives Matter movement.

Instead, Coonrod remained standing near the far edge of the infield dirt behind first base as his teammates kneeled in almost perfect unison like the display in the Yankees-Nationals game earlier Thursday night. 

After the game, Coonrod said because of his Christian faith he “can’t kneel before anything besides God.” He also said he does not agree with everything he has heard about the Black Life Matter movement.

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“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. How they lean towards Marxism and they’ve said some negative things about the nuclear family,” Coonrod said, per NBC Sports Bay Area. “I just can’t get on board with that.”

Coonrod said he did not have time to discuss the matter with teammates or coaches before the game because he did not find out about the decision to kneel until late in the day. 

Several Giants players and coaches remained kneeling during the anthem, including manager Gabe Kapler. Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts was the only Los Angeles player to kneel as the anthem began. 

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

Coonrod’s remarks about the Black Lives Matter movement resembled those of Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Georgia, co-owner of the WNBA Atlanta Dream, when she said on Fox News in July that BLM is “based on Marxist principles” and “doesn’t support the nuclear family.”

Contact Analis Bailey at aabailey@usatoday.com or on Twitter @analisbailey.

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