Americans tuned in by the millions to get a taste of normality last Thursday when the Major League Baseball season began. Fans were eager to see their favorite players take the field and perform what they do best because the coronavirus has prevented baseball from resuming until now. But then Los Angeles Dodgers star Mookie Betts took a knee to join the protest against police brutality, and fans went wild.

Before he sat down during the anthem, Betts was engaged in serious negotiations with Dodgers management to finalize the specifics of his contract. By the conclusion of those talks, Betts signed a deal worth $365 million, ensuring himself a prosperous future.

However, early on Opening Day at Dodgers Stadium, it became clear that Betts had more on his mind than money. As several San Francisco Giants players kneeled during the anthem, Betts dropped to one knee as well, expressing his support for African-Americans who are at risk of being killed by a police officer.

Betts’s new contract is worth $365 million over twelve years, making him the highest-paid MLB player to kneel in protest of police brutality in the United States.

During the anthem, Betts received support from teammates Max Muncy and Cody Bellinger, who placed their hands on his shoulders in a show of support. However, these players did not kneel with Betts during the opening game.

Alex Cora, his former manager with the Boston Red Sox, also tweeted his support.

The San Francisco Giants have not been afraid to express their opinions on racial prejudice in America. Mike Yastrzemski, Austin Slater, Jaylin Davis, and Antoan Richardson all knelt during an exhibition game against the Oakland Athletics before playing.

Colin Kaepernick was formerly a member of the San Francisco 49ers. Perhaps the San Francisco sports teams are proud that Colin Kaepernick is largely credited for bringing the protest to a wider audience.

The first MLB manager to kneel during the anthem was Aaron Kapler. He spoke with ESPN following the contest, explaining why it was essential for him to express his political beliefs.

“Yeah, it was a really important unifying… on both sides. I think we felt a sense of calm in the ballpark at that moment, and it was really good to be around players who were so committed to changing the current state of systemic racism in our country. It was really empowering to see the actions and steps that we’re taking today by Major League Baseball by the players’ alliance, the players association. Everybody involved did a great job.”

On July 23, the MLB posted a video on Twitter in which players from the New York Yankees and Washington Nationals hold a two-hundred-yard black ribbon in memory of the Black community.

“Today, and every day, we come together as brothers,” the MLB wrote. “As equals, all with the same goal – to level the playing field. To change the injustices. Equality is not just a word. It’s our right! Today we stand as men from 25 nations on six continents. Today, we are one.”