Ken Blaze/USA Today Sports

John Farrell: Red Sox support rights of players to protest

Rob Bradford
September 24, 2017 - 12:59 pm

With President Donald Trump amping up the conversation regarding professional athletes' rights to protest via kneeling for the National Anthem, the conversation is now no longer limited to the National Football League. Prior to the Red Sox' series finale against the Reds, manager John Farrell was asked his thoughts about the controversy.

"I follow it closely. As it relates to our players, if they were to choose to express themselves in the way we’ve seen other athletes in other sports, we would fully support them," Farrell told reporters. "We strive to create an environment that’s inclusive. We would have their back as an organization. If that’s the expression they chose to do, it’s their constitutional right. But I will tell you, we’re at a point and time in history, and I’m not a historian by any means, but there’s a lot of division that is currently in the forefront of a lot of people’s mind and the more united we can become, that is a goal of all of us."

Oakland catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first Major League Baseball player to kneel for the National Anthem, having done so after conferring with his A's teammates and management. Farrell explained that while no formal meetingshave taken place with the Red Sox, he and the organization would be open to hearing from the players on this subject.

"I can’t say we’ve held meetings about it. But it’s a current event," Farrell told reporters. "It’s what we live. It’s ever present, so sure, it’s part of conversation, whether it’s casual, whether it’s a little more in depth with certain individuals or guys on our team or our coaching staff. We play close attention. We’re not blinded by what goes on outside the ballpark. Sometimes we can live in a bubble at times. We pay close attention to what goes on in quote unquote the real world."

The manager later added, "Baseball more than any other sport is clearly a melting pot, and I say that with all due respect. We have players from all different walks. There’s six countries represented in the clubhouse. There’s socioeconomic backgrounds that are so diverse and yet we come together because of one thing and that is a great game and we respect their backgrounds. We respect their opinions. I think it makes us a better team and a more wholesome team because of the differences that we have."

For more on the debate regarding the National Anthems, read John Tomase's column by click here.