Bruce Maxwell was the first Major League Baseball player to kneel during the National Anthem in protest of police brutality. Following his protest, Maxwell tells HBO’s Real Sports that he was ready to commit suicide because of the backlash he received for standing with Colin Kaepernick.
In a clip of an interview he did with Soledad O’Brien, Maxwell reveals the abuse he and his family received from fans when he made the decision to protest. “There was an older gentleman standing above our dugout and he said ‘f–k you n—er’ you don’t deserve to be on the field,” Maxwell recalls.
A slew of death threats followed the protest and became overwhelming for the Oakland Athletics Catcher to the point where he was ready to commit suicide.
“My lowest moment was sitting in my room, far side of my bed on the floor… I had a fully loaded gun pointed at my forehead. All I had to do was squeeze,” Maxwell told O’Brien. “I thought the world and my family would be better off if I was gone.”
The MLB is known to be a conservative sport, less progressive than the NBA or even the NFL. Maxwell said in the interview that he expected criticism but not to the level that it was which included threats to blow up his house and car.
In 2017, Maxwell was arrested and charged with aggravated assault for pointing a gun at a woman. A year later after reaching a plea deal, Maxwell was convicted of disorderly conduct with a weapon.
Despite catching a gun charge, Maxwell believes it was the protest and not the legal situation that has kept him out of the MLB. He has been a free agent since 2018 ultimately relocating to Mexico where he won a championship in the Mexican baseball league.
Maxwell, like Kaepernick, is still waiting on a pro team to give him an opportunity.
The full episode of Real Sports airs Tuesday at 11 pm on HBO.