Derek Jeter says people have lost sight of why athletes are kneeling

Derek Jeter doesn’t want people to lose sight of why athletes are kneeling. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

Miami Marlins owner Derek Jeter became one of the few baseball executives to provide his stance on kneeling during the national anthem in October, saying he would be fine with players on his club taking part in the protest.

At a business event Tuesday, Jeter was asked about about the issue again, and laid out some more in-depth thoughts on his stance.

Jeter said:

“I don’t know what the league rules are, to be quite honest with you, because this is something that just came up last year, so Ive been retired. It’s unfortunate … everyone has their ways of doing peaceful protest … And as long as it’s peaceful … if every protest was peaceful, the world would be a better place, right? You may not necessarily agree with how someone is protesting, but as long as it’s peaceful … Now, saying that, would I kneel during the anthem? No. I don’t think I would kneel during the anthem. But everyone has their own personal choice. I think people have lost sight of the fact of what someone is protesting about, and they are focusing on how they’re protesting, which is unfortunate. But its an uncomfortable conversation. It’s an uncomfortable conversation for a lot of people, and I don’t know if anyone has the right answer.”

There you go. Jeter would not kneel, but he doesn’t mind players doing so as long as the protest remains peaceful.

Perhaps more importantly, Jeter says people have lost sight of why players are kneeling. The reason San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick — and now many other NFL players — started kneeling during the national anthem was to protest racial inequality in the United States. It wasn’t to protest against the military or veterans as some may suggest.

For the most part, kneeling protests haven’t cropped up in baseball. The only player to engage in one thus far has been Oakland Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell. The 26-year-old Maxwell was arrested Saturday night after allegedly pointing a gun at a woman. The A’s released a statement saying they were disappointed in Maxwell’s arrest, but were still gathering facts and wouldn’t comment further.

Maxwell began his protest near the end of the regular season. No player has taken a knee during the national anthem in the playoffs.

Given the divisive political climate, that could change next season. The NFL protest started with just Kaepernick and safety Eric Reid, but evolved into something much bigger.

There’s been no indication that more baseball players will engage in any type of protest next season yet. But if they do, Jeter will be just fine with that decision.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!