During the L.A. Dodger’s game on Thursday, outfielder Mookie Betts took a knee during the national anthem despite a pledge made four years ago that he would never do such a thing.
In 2016, Betts spoke out against Colin Kaepernick’s anti-American protests saying that since his father served in the Air Force during the Vietnam era, he could never take a knee against the country during the national anthem, the Los Angeles Times reported.
But, on Thursday, he suddenly did an about-face and took a knee now claiming he has become “educated.”
“I think then I wasn’t exactly sure, I wasn’t educated, and that’s my fault,” Betts said. “I need to be educated on the situation. I know my dad served, and I’ll never disrespect the flag, but there’s also got to be change in the world. Kneeling has nothing to do with those who served our country. Kneeling is for the injustice.”
As Betts took a knee during the anthem, two of his teammates, Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy, placed their hands on his shoulders in support.
“It was just unity,” Betts said after the game. “We’re all on the same team, we’re all here for change, even the Giants.”
On Thursday, when Betts took a knee, so did many of his teammates and their opponents, the San Francisco Giants. And both teams took part in a demonstration in homage to the Black Lives Matter movement before the game. All but Giants relief pitcher, Sam Coonrod, participated in the protesting. For his part, Coonrod said that he only kneels before God and that he does not agree with the Marxist goals of the BLM movement.
Betts, who recently agreed to a monumental 12-year, $365 million contract this year, went 1-for-5 with two strikeouts in his L.A. Dodgers debut on Thursday. The Dodgers beat the Giants 8-1.
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