A Major League Baseball catcher claimed earlier this week that a waiter in his Alabama hometown of Huntsville refused him service, after recognizing him as the player who knelt during the national anthem last month.
That player was Bruce Maxwell, who made his MLB debut back in 2016 and plays for the Oakland Athletics. On Sept. 23, Maxwell became the first, and only MLB player as of writing to kneel during the national anthem. The son of a U.S. Army veteran, Maxwell had previously said that kneeling was to raise awareness on the “racial divide that is being practiced from the highest power” Fox News reported.
But the 42-year-old waiter, Matt Henry had a completely different version of what happened. The employee at the Keegan’s Public House told Fox News that “This all started because I carded his friend who wanted to order a beer.”
“He is outright lying. This is really upsetting as he was given full service, I didn’t even know who Bruce Maxwell was,” Henry told the network.
Henry, an Alabama native, said Maxwell was dining with local Democratic councilman Devyn Keith and another friend who provided an expired ID, which prompted the server to refuse him a drink. This apparently upset the friend who followed him into the kitchen.
“He asked me, ‘Don’t you know who Bruce Maxwell is?’ and told me I was making everyone feel uncomfortable. Nobody was even paying attention to them,” Henry claimed.
“I didn’t know anything about him or the kneeling. All I know is a friend of mine 15 years ago lost his job for serving someone a drink who happened to be underage, so if anyone looks under 30, I’m going to card them,” Henry told Fox News.
Then Henry said the councilman complained to the restaurant’s manager about Maxwell feeling uncomfortable. The manager just switched a waiter from another table and that it was “no big deal.”
Anne Whalen, the restaurant manager on duty that day told Fox News that the story of Maxwell’s being spread in the media could not be further from the actual truth.
“Matt came to me and told me that a guy wanted a beer but his ID was not valid and I told him he absolutely could not give it to him, we can go to jail for that in the state of Alabama,” Whalen told Fox News.
“It was his friend causing all the fuss, none of us even knew who this baseball player was. I told him I had no idea who he was going on about,” she said. “Eventually Matt just asked if we could put another server on the table so I did. … I can’t believe the story.”
Whalen said out of the three men, Maxwell was the only one who had a valid ID, hence he was the only one they served a beer to.
But earlier this week on Tuesday, Oct. 24, Maxwell told TMZ Sports that the waiter said to him “You’re the guy who took the knee?” After confirming he was, Maxwell alleged that the waiter then responded, “I voted for Trump, and I stand for everything he stands for,” and then refused to serve him.
Maxwell claims that this prompted the councilman, who is a high school friend and is African-American, to approach the restaurant’s manager who then solved the situation by putting another waiter on their table.
“We didn’t even discuss Trump. I was working two jobs, I don’t have time for rallies,” Henry told Fox News. “If this all happened a month ago, why suddenly now is he claiming all this now?”
The professional baseball player also claimed to TMZ that he was racially profiled by the waiter, which Henry denies.
“It’s really easy for people to point a finger at Alabama, and that’s what has upset me about this fabrication the most,” Henry told Fox News. “This is one of the best places to live in America, if not the planet. Hearing this was a slap in the face.”
Henry also said that Maxwell was very polite during the meal. Whalen also said that the men happily paid the bill and left without objection after their meal.
“Unless you’re subjected to it, you won’t feel it,” Maxwell also told TMZ. “I’m very respectful, I’m very educated. And it still happens to this day. And so … that’s the reason I kneel.”
Henry told Fox News he started at the restaurant only a couple of months ago but was forced to leave two weeks ago over health issues from working two jobs.