Yankees’ Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Hicks kneel during national anthem

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WASHINGTON — After the entire Yankees roster knelt before the national anthem on Thursday’s Opening Night, two players took the extra step — or simply stayed down, to express it literally — on Saturday night. Aaron Hicks and Giancarlo Stanton became the first Yankees to make this controversial statement.

Before the Yankees and Nationals continued their series at Nationals Park, Hicks and Stanton stood in fair territory in left field and planted their left knees on the ground as “The Star-Spangled Banner” played. DJ LeMahieu stood next to Stanton, on his right. No Nationals players knelt.

Stanton and Hicks both participated in the Players Alliance public service announcement that supported the Black Lives Matter movement.

Stanton has been particularly vocal during the pandemic, both before and after the alleged murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, about the United States’ systemic racism.

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