The San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers opened the 2020 MLB season with a moving moment before the first pitch as players from both teams lined the baselines and kneeled while holding a black ribbon. Sam Coonrod, a second-year reliever for the San Francisco Giants, was the lone player who refused to take a knee and invoked his faith as the reason. On closer inspection, Coonrod appears to be the second coming of another former Giants player known more now for his off-field antics than his play in Aubrey Huff.
Aubrey Huff has been outspoken on Twitter
Aubrey Huff played 13 seasons in MLB, finishing his career in San Francisco, where he won a pair of World Series titles in his three seasons with the club. While he retired after 2012, he hasn’t been out of the public spotlight.
Huff is quite active on Twitter and that’s where he has made more than his share of headlines in recent years. In November 2019, Huff, who is an outspoken supporter of the President, tweeted a picture from a gun range, which many interpreted as threatening when he wrote, “Getting my boys trained up on how to use a gun in the unlikely event @BernieSanders beats @realDonaldTrump in 2020.”
Those inflammatory remarks, among others, didn’t go unnoticed by the Giants organization, the club where Huff was a key element in the team’s World Series title-winning season in 2010. When the club announced it would have a 10-year reunion celebrating the World Series title, it also announced Huff would not be a part of the festivities.
“Aubrey has made multiple comments on social media that are unacceptable and run counter to the values of our organization,” the team said. “While we appreciate the many contributions that Aubrey made to the 2010 championship season, we stand by our decision.”
Sam Coonrod refuses to kneel during moment of silence
Before the first pitch of the San Francisco Giants 2020 season-opener against the LA Dodgers, players from both teams kneeled in a moment of silence before the anthem was played, with one exception. Giants second-year reliever Sam Coonrod remained standing during the moment. After the game, Coonrod explained his decision.
“I meant no ill will by it. I don’t think I’m better than anyone. I’m a Christian. I just believe I can’t kneel before anything besides God — Jesus Christ. I chose not to kneel. I feel that if I did kneel, I would be being a hypocrite. I didn’t want to be a hypocrite.”
When asked about his thoughts on the whole Black Lives Matter movement, Coonrod said he had problems with it.
“I’m a Christian, and I just can’t get on board with a couple things I’ve read about Black Lives Matter, how they lean toward Marxism, and they said some negative things about the nuclear family.”
Sam Coonrod echoes many conservative voices
While Sam Coonrod invoked his faith as a reason not to kneel, his comments on BLM raised a few eyebrows. That’s because the words he used to describe the worldwide movement are talking points lifted straight out of the playbook of many conservatives who openly discuss their viewpoints on media outlets such as Fox News.
Earlier this month, Missouri senator Josh Hawley, sent a letter to the NBA questioning the league’s decision to limit the social justice messaging on the back of jerseys. Just days before his letter, Hawley appeared on “Fox and Friends,” where he shared his views on Black Lives Matter.
“Black Lives Matter is an organization, I think, you just go to their website and look at what they believe. They are Marxist. There is this hatred for the United States of America that is there. The nuclear family, they say, is inherently racist. But the organization and what it is standing for and pushing, I think it’s very, very dangerous.”
Huff, after seeing Coonrod’s actions on opening day, unsurprisingly took to Twitter to show his support for the Giants pitcher.
“I hope Sam’s example gives courage and inspiration to hundreds of MLB players that are opening their seasons today to stand for their convictions and stand for this great country that has given them so much,” Huff wrote.
Based on the Giants organization’s decision to exclude Huff from the 10-year reunion, Coonrod shouldn’t be pleased with Huff’s endorsement, and more importantly, would be wise to steer clear of any activities that Huff might be eager to endorse in the first place.