Kneeling is a quiet gesture. Bob Melvin’s decision to make the Giants stand for the national anthem is a loud one

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After making it known that he wants players to have “a voice” in a volatile Election Year, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell still had six months before preseason games started in which he didn’t have to worry about any potential on-field demonstrations. But thanks to new San Francisco Giants skipper Bob Melvin, all of the present pressure is now on Major League Baseball.

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Goodell probably sent Melvin a thank you card.

“Look, we’re a new team here, we got some good players here,’’ said Melvin about why he is requiring every person in the team’s dugout to stand on the field for the national anthem. “It’s more about letting the other side know that we’re ready to play. I want guys out here ready to go. There’s a personality to that.

“It has nothing to do with whatever happened in the past or whatever, it’s just something I embrace.”

Deion Sanders once said, “If you look good, you feel good. If you feel good, you play good. If you play good, they pay good.” But in Melvin’s mind, on-field performance is determined by having his team stand in unison during a song that’s unnecessarily played before sporting events in this country — fans are usually doing everything else but paying attention during it —as a way of letting their opponent know that they’re “ready to play.”

Apparently, watching film, mental preparation and batting practice fail in comparison to “presenting as a unit” to Melvin, as standing in formation is the new way to win baseball games around The Bay.

“You want your team ready to play and I want the other team to notice it, too,’ he added. “It’s as simple as that. They’re embracing it.”

Besides the un-seriousness of Melvin’s decision, he’s put us in a decision to believe either of the following things about him: He either thinks we’re all dumb, he has no self-awareness, or both.

Melvin works in a league that took nine days to address George Floyd in 2020, you can’t expect that four short years later decisions like his won’t make news. Melvin is also taking over for Gabe Kapler, the team’s former skipper who stopped taking the field for the anthem in 2022 after the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas. He also kneeled in 2020 — during a time in which baseball’s “performative wokeness” was at an all-time high. And let’s not forget about the fact that this whole “anthem thing” started when Colin Kaepernick sat, then kneeled, in the very same city where Melvin now works.

There’s nothing wrong with a new coach establishing their culture in the locker room or clubhouse when they take over, as it’s part of what they were hired to do. So, if Melvin wants his version of the San Francisco Giants to look different than the previous one, it will be proven in the standings.

But this isn’t about that, as Melvin seemingly wanted to take a stand — literally and figuratively. This isn’t about whether his decision is right or wrong, either. It’s more about how it’s unnecessarily loud and attention-seeking. There’s no subtlety in what Melvin is doing, and despite what he says, given the circumstances, he’s the one who has made it “political.”

If kneeling in sports was going to happen in 2024, it probably was going to take place in football, particularly the NFL. Which means we had a quiet few months ahead of us. But thanks to Bob Melvin, a topic of discussion around another potential peaceful protest during a silent moment has become needlessly loud.

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