During the conversation spawned by Colin Kaepernick in 2016, when the former NFL quarterback chose to kneel during the National Anthem as a protest, Mookie Betts decided to stand.
Betts' father had been in the military, serving in Vietnam, and the outfielder felt at the time it would be disrespectful to take such a stance.
Thursday night, prior to his first game with the Dodgers, Betts started his new existence with a new approach toward kneeling. This time he bent to one knee during the Anthem, bowing his head with teammates Max Muncy and Cody Bellinger standing on either side of him with their hands on the shoulder of their new teammate. Betts was the only Dodger to remain kneeling for the National Anthem.
"I wasn't educated," Betts said after the Dodgers' 8-1 win over the Giants when asked about his view now compared to four years ago. "That's my fault. I need to be educated on the situation. I know my dad served and I'll never disrespect the flag, but there's also gotta be change in the world, and kneeling has nothing to do with those who served our country."
Betts said he wasn't sure if he would kneel going forward, but he was certain regarding his desire to help enact change.
"I think kneeling is definitely something that shows we need change, but also I have to put some action into play as far as away from MLB," Betts said. "That's my primary goal. Today was just to unify both sides and just to show that we are here for change."