Bruce Maxwell is hardly a household name. in all likelihood most people couldn’t even pick him out of a lineup. Sadly however he is now rapidly gaining notoriety and not in what most would consider a positive way.
Maxwell is a professional baseball player for the Oakland Athletics. He plays catcher and gets paid a little more than half a million a year (a pittance compared to most major league ball players). He batted .256 while hitting 4 Home Runs during the past season, respectable but far from earth shattering numbers
It is not any of this that is causing Maxwell’s name to be batted about as of late – rather it is the fact that (unlike the vast majority of Major League Baseball Players) he is given to taking the knee during the National Anthem.
That in and of itself would be bad enough, but Maxwell has recently caused something of an internet uproar by claiming that he was denied service at a Restaurant because the waiter recognized him as someone who took a knee during the national anthem and denied him service. To the further angst of Maxwell’s twitter followers the waiter self-identified as a *gasp* Trump supporter!! Feel the anger
Waiter serving #brucemaxwell said he supports everything trump does. So he supports racism & misogyny. It's Alabama. Not surprising
— Cim Cardashian (@curlytopqt69) October 24, 2017
People were very disturbed that the horribly racist Trump supporter wasn’t even fired!
— Robert Littal (@BSO) October 24, 2017
Even a cursory examination of the name “Bruce Maxwell” on twitter reveals a dozen (if not dozen’s) of sports and news feeds picking up Maxwell’s story and publishing it pretty much verbatim
At least the New York Post used the words “says pro-Trump waiter denied him service”
— New York Post Sports (@nypostsports) October 24, 2017
Other sources were less objective
Bruce Maxwell was denied service at a restaurant in his hometown in Alabama https://t.co/6PoYohDxHk
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) October 24, 2017
In early October, A's catcher Bruce Maxwell knelt during the national anthem before one of his team's games. Later in the month, a waiter refused to serve him at an Alabama restaurant. https://t.co/MHoopftj7t pic.twitter.com/K5JWa38t4N
— Chicago Tribune (@chicagotribune) October 25, 2017
All in all regardless of your political beliefs this is a sad, sad story. Perhaps the saddest part of the story is that apparently it didn’t happen quite how Bruce Maxwell remembered.
In a story appearing on TMZ, Fox News and other sources, the waiter and restaurant owner involved in the supposed refusal of service told a far different story, they maintain that the service refusal never happened.
Restaurant Claims MLB's Bruce Maxwell Lied About Trump Service Refusal https://t.co/0WHvNjZvs2
— TMZ (@TMZ) October 25, 2017
— Fox News (@FoxNews) October 25, 2017
According to the the waiter and his employer, no one even recognized Maxwell in the first place (baseball players with very few exceptions don’t receive the wide spread media attention that other sport stars (such as NFL football players are used to) and their faces don’t get splattered around nearly as much). The entire incident was sparked by the waiter’s (correctly and properly) refusing to serve alcohol to a member of Maxwell’s party who was attempting to utilize an expired ID card.
As to the whole “evil Trump supporter” narrative? The waiter in question (Matt Henry) said
“We didn’t even discuss Trump. I was working two jobs, I don’t have time for rallies,” Henry continued. “It was all fabricated to make people from Alabama look bad, which upsets me because this guy is from here. … If this all happened a month ago, why suddenly now is he claiming all this now?”
Great question, an even better question would be why would a ballplayer bringing in over half a million dollars a year fabricate a story which had a very good chance of getting an innocent guy working two jobs fired?
Is self promotion that important to Maxwell? Wasn’t the fact that he was the first major league baseball player to take a knee during the anthem enough notoriety for him?
According to Henry, Maxwell was dining with Democratic Councilman Devyn Keith but an Internet search did not bring forth any evidence of Keith coming forward with a statement either confirming or disputing Maxwell’s claims.
It would appear from this story that Maxwell’s kneeling protest and his willingness to play fast and loose with the facts are serving to tarnish the image of Major League Baseball to the same dull and lusterless finish that is currently covering the National Football League and all Professional Sports in America.