Oakland Athletics' catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first Major League Baseball (MLB) player to kneel during the national anthem Saturday night, prior to a game against the Texas Rangers.

The 26-year-old had his hand over his heart while he faced the flag during the national anthem. Teammate Mark Canha extended support to his fellow player's action by placing his hand on Maxwell's shoulder, according to the official site of the Oakland Athletics.

Maxwell followed in the footsteps of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who started kneeling during the anthem ahead of the 2016 NFL season to protest the wrongdoings against African Americans and minorities in the U.S.

After Kaepernick, many athletes, mostly NFL players, have done so to protest police shootings of unarmed black men and to support Black Lives Matter movement.

Maxwell's action was also a protest against President Donald Trump's remarks at a rally in Huntsville, Alabama, on Friday night where he said players kneeling during the national anthem should be fired by team owners. 

He had also posted a series of tweets earlier Saturday in response to Trump's remarks.

The player's agent Matt Sosnick said: "Bruce has made it clear that he is taking a stand about what he perceives as racial injustices in this country, and his personal disappointment with President Trump's response to a number of professional athletes' totally peaceful, non-violent protests," according to San Francisco Chronicle.

The Athletics soon released a statement on Twitter saying that it respects and supports all their players' constitutional rights and freedom of expression.

MLB too issued a statement on the matter saying that it has a "longstanding tradition of honoring our nation prior to the start of our games." However, it also added they respected the fact that each of its players was an individual with their own background, perspectives and opinions. "We believe that our game will continue to bring our fans, their communities and our players together."

Maxwell is an African-American, born on a U.S. military base in Germany while his father was stationed there with the Army.

Maxwell was a Midland RockHounds catcher who impressed professional scouts with his bat during one of his games in 2012. He was selected by Oakland Athletics in the second round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft after leading all National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III players with 15 home runs and a .915 slugging percentage.

After that, Maxwell evolved into a capable defensive catcher.

"He's come a long way with what he does behind the plate," Midland manager Ryan Christenson said, according to Midland Reporter-Telegram. "I really like what he is doing as far as receiving, throwing. He handles the pitchers' meetings very well. He has a good game plan, a good idea of what he wants to do behind the plate," Christenson added.

"He's always fought with his offensive approach. He is tremendously strong and in batting practice we see him hit a lot of home runs to right field. His strength is to work the ball on the line to the middle of the field into the gaps," Christenson said.