The San Francisco Giants have been lacking a complete moron in their bullpen since they let wall-punching, brawl-starting, even-had-Fox News-wondering-if-he-was-racist imbecile Hunter Strickland go after the 2018 season.
Sam Coonrod, the job is yours.
Before Thursday night’s opening games of Major League Baseball’s shortened season, every player on the Yankees and Nationals, and every player on the Giants and Dodgers, held a ribbon and took a knee for a moment of staged solidarity to acknowledge that acknowledging Black Lives Matter is an important thing to do to keep up appearances right now. Major League Baseball still embraces Donald Trump and still has widespread issues with racism. This was just a moment to say, hey, the police murdering people is not okay.
Well, Coonrod, quite literally, could not get down with that.
“I’m a Christian, so I just believe that I can’t kneel before anything besides God,” the right-hander said of his decision not to kneel with every single other player on his team and the other team.
The overwhelming majority of Major League Baseball players are Christians, but Coonrod of course means more when he says “I’m a Christian.” He means it in the way that Anthony Rendon did last year when he said, “I want to be known as a Christian baseball player and I’m still trying to grow into that. But in the end, I want to be more Christian than baseball player.”
There are still plenty of Christians like Coonrod in the majors, like Nationals outfielder Victor Robles, who took a knee with everyone else at the game in Washington. Coonrod certainly could have taken a knee and engaged in some unrelated silent prayer. But he’s very clearly hiding behind his religion because this was about a lot more than God.
“I just can’t get on board with a couple things I’ve read about Black Lives Matter, how they lean towards Marxism, and … they said some negative things about the nuclear family,” Coonrod said. “I just can’t get on board with that.”
You can probably guess where Coonrod is doing his reading, but Black Lives Matter, especially as endorsed by Major League Baseball, is not about Marxism in the slightest. Do you really think MLB would be on board with Marxism? No. It’s about saying that Black people shouldn’t be murdered by the police. Coonrod was asked to take a knee to basically say “innocent people shouldn’t get killed and racism is generally bad,” and he couldn’t do it, and hid behind God and Tucker Carlson.
Giants manager Gabe Kapler, noted for his ability to avoid reacting or hold people responsible for their actions, offered a predictably lackluster response: “The one thing that we said is we were going to let people express themselves. 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.”
Anti-racism means fighting against racism, not just saying people can make a “personal decision” to stage their own personal protest on transparently B.S. grounds, and be OK with it. If it seems hypocritical to be against Coonrod’s display but for Colin Kaepernick, the important part is the basis of the protest. Kaepernick’s point was that police shouldn’t be getting away with murdering innocent people. Coonrod’s is that the internet told him some scary stuff that doesn’t even relate to the message of MLB’s social justice performance.
“He’s not going to get mad if I disagree with him,” Coonrod said of Kapler. “I think that’s part of the problem nowadays. People get mad whenever someone disagrees. I’m not mad at someone who decided to kneel. I just don’t think it’s too much to ask that I just get the same respect.”
Wrong again. It’s not that people get mad “whenever someone disagrees.” People get mad when you decide to invent your own personal reality and act as if an opinion based in fiction is a straight-up fact. Giving “the same respect” to people who are demonstrably wrong is how trash positions become acceptable in the mainstream, from climate denialism to refusing to wear a mask during a pandemic because “freedom.”
Coonrod does not get the same respect. He gets to be known as a bonehead who tried to say he didn’t think God would be on board with him taking a knee to show some respect for the idea that people getting killed is bad. God, for the record, has historically endorsed that position.