Player Teaches Coach

September 26, 2017

When Jan Weisberg, Head Baseball Coach at Birmingham Southern College, learned one of his former players, Bruce Maxwell, now a member of the Oakland A’s, was kneeling during the national anthem, he was alarmed and quickly sent him a text. The next day, the two talked. From the conversation, Weisberg has since come to understand Maxwell's perspective and intentions.

According to The Washington Post, Weisberg said that his first reaction to hearing about Weisberg taking a knee had been “Oh no, what are you doing?” Weisberg then immediately texted Maxwell, before calling him the next morning to ask about his intentions. Maxwell gave a similar answer to the one that he'd given to Jeff Passan, a Yahoo columnist, during an interview, saying that he intended to protest what he believed was President Trump's tacit acceptance of racism.

“Racism has been going on since this country was founded,” Maxwell had said to Passan. “But stepping up and recognizing the fact that people in this country are being treated unjustly is a big problem when it comes to mankind, and I’m pretty sure people who died for this country fought so I could do this.”

Maxwell said that by facing the flag and putting his hand over his heart, he continued to show respect for the country even while making a protest.

“At the end of the day, this is the best country on the planet,” Maxwell said. “I am and forever will be an American citizen and grateful to be here, but my kneeling is what’s getting the attention, and I’m kneeling for the people who don’t have a voice.”

Weisberg said that after their conversation, he has since begun to understand Maxwell's perspective.

“I guess, it’s a different feeling until it hits home when you know someone who’s going through it,” Weisberg said. “I’m a bit old fashioned. I thought [the anthem] was something where it was a time to step back and respect the flag and the country. But if you want to start dialogue, maybe that’s the time to do it. I hate to say it, but I do see both sides of it. I just told him my first reaction was, ‘I don’t like that, I don’t agree. But the more I hear you talk about it, I understand.’ “

From New World Of Coaching
Long-time crew coach and athletic administrator Mike Davenport explains one of the methods he uses to improve as a coach: A Coach in Improvement Action List. You can A refer to this list in times of doubt or struggle.
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