Former Athletic Bruce Maxwell is currently without a team, and is distressed enough about it that he recently fired his agent. Teams need catchers—it seems like half the league is circling around Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto—and Maxwell is a catcher, and while he would be exactly no one’s idea of a savior at the position, his inability to find work is about more than his lousy bat. Don’t take my word for it (via The Chronicle):
“It’s the kneeling thing that might keep him from getting another job, not the arrest,” one major-league executive told The Chronicle as the winter meetings wrapped up Thursday. “Owners aren’t going to want to deal with that whole anthem issue.”
There’s no great conspiracy here, nor would there need to be. Maxwell is a replacement-grade player at a platoon position, and he was arrested last October and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon—baseball teams have their pick of excuses to offer up for why he’s currently out of work. That an executive went ahead and explicitly identified “that whole anthem issue” as a significant reason for his continued unemployment is perhaps illustrative of a difference between Major League Baseball and the NFL, where general managers and owners and coaches have demeaned themselves endlessly with quarter-assed excuses for why they won’t give Colin Kaepernick—a good player at a premier position—so much as an audition. For better or worse, the consequences of a baseball executive admitting to stiff-arming a player over demonstrating against systemic racism are probably different and lighter than they would be for an NFL executive, for reasons having to do with fan demographics and baseball’s increasing regionalization and football’s vastly brighter spotlight, and so forth.
Or maybe there just happens to be one executive in baseball who doesn’t mind saying this stuff aloud. Either way, the candor is almost refreshing, even while the concern he describes is misplaced, if for no other reason than that Maxwell gave up his demonstrations prior to the start of last season.