Four years ago, Mookie Betts said he would never kneel during the national anthem because of his father, Willie, an Air Force veteran who served in Vietnam.
The 27-year-old’s stance has changed. Right before his first official game with the Los Angeles Dodgers Thursday night, Betts took a knee during the anthem. Nearly every player and coach from both the Dodgers and Giants took a knee before the anthem, but Betts was among those who also took a knee during it.
“I wasn’t educated. That’s my fault,” said Betts, who the day prior inked a 12-year, $365 million contract extension. “I need to be educated on the situation. I know my dad served and I’ll never disrespect the flag, but there’s also gotta be change in the world, and kneeling has nothing to do with those who served our country.”
Two of Betts’ teammates, Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy, both stood next to him with a hand on each of Betts’ shoulders. The kneeling came after a Black Lives Matter video featuring MLB stars, including Betts, played on the video board.
“It was just unity,” Betts said. “We’re all on the same team, we’re all here for change, even the Giants.”
Betts went 1-for-5 with two strikeouts in his Dodgers debut.
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