“I felt like a sellout,” DeShields said. “I always felt like I should've been out there with him, and now he's not even in the league no more. He's out in Mexico playing. It just sucks that happened to him.”
DeShields didn’t put his hand over his heart at the time, but he said he felt like it wasn’t enough. Maxwell was the only MLB player to kneel during the anthem and was booed for it.
“I just remember hearing everyone booing, people behind me talking s--- pretty much,” he told ESPN. “Do you guys not see me? I'm black. This could very well be me. How would you treat me if y'all say y'all love me and y'all love watching me play and I'm this, that, the other, what would your reaction be if it was me? That day, I remember specifically I didn't even want to play. I can't play in front of these people today. I felt uncomfortable.”
DeShields said he didn’t want to be exiled from the league if he took a stand for something.
“I didn't want to be castrated out the league for something that I believe in while trying to inspire the youth,” he said. “I just didn't want to contribute to that, especially when I'm trying to inspire young African-American kids that you can play in the big leagues and look like me if that's something you want to do.”
Maxwell was out of the league by the 2018 season.
DeShields said he hasn’t determined whether he would kneel for the national anthem this season.