As I discussed at length this weekend, I prefer to “stick to sports” at BN where I can do so in a way that (1) doesn’t do a disservice to providing full information/context/analysis to the reader, and (2) doesn’t leave me feeling like a mindless robot without a care about or sense for the world around him.
Which is to say, generally speaking, I’m not going to touch the broader world – especially the political world – until and unless it encroaches upon the sports world. In particular, when it leans into baseball and/or the Cubs.
That obviously happened in a big way this weekend, with The President devoting most of his time on Twitter to the subject of NFL players demonstrating during the National Anthem. On Saturday night, A’s catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first MLB player to take a knee during the National Anthem, and there was also an un-invitation to the White House tweeted to the Golden State Warriors, who were not necessarily intending on visiting in any case.
These issues do bear a relationship to the Cubs in a notable way, as part of the team partook in a second visit to the White House over the summer, in order to visit with President Trump, after earlier visiting with President Obama before he left office. The decision for a second trip was applauded in some circles, criticized in others, and manager Joe Maddon generally suggested that an offer to visit the White House is a special thing, and respect for the office makes it worth participating, regardless of the politics of the day.
Against that backdrop, and this weekend’s activity, Maddon was asked again about respecting the White House in this era, and also about demonstrations during the National Anthem.
You can read Maddon’s thoughts here, here, here, and here, among other places, which also provides background on Maddon’s initial comments saying “it’s dangerous when folks in our country stop respecting the White House and the seat of the president.” That was a general statement he has made before about his own team’s visit to the White House, and was not directly in response to the activities of the weekend – Maddon wasn’t aware of them when he made the comment immediately after Saturday’s game.
Once he had seen all that was said, and had a better understanding of the context, Maddon clarified his Saturday remarks:
When talking about anthem protests & comments from NBA players yesterday, Maddon says he didn't know full context. Had more thoughts today. pic.twitter.com/Bs1bXBl2PU
— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) September 24, 2017
There is no team rule with respect to the National Anthem, though you typically see players who aren’t in the clubhouse getting pre-game preparations done out participating in the ceremony. Additionally, Maddon is “all into self-expression,” as you well know, so it doesn’t sound like he would have an issue with National Anthem demonstrations, be they in the NFL or by one of his own players. Maddon believes in allowing his players the freedom to be themselves.
I highly, highly doubt we’ll see a Cubs player demonstrating during the National Anthem, so that part is almost certainly moot. Nevertheless, I think it’s useful to know Maddon’s perspective on these issues.