S.F. Giants pitcher Sam Coonrod did NOT kneel with the rest of his teammates in a showing of support for the Black Lives Matter movement Thursday ... saying his religion and his personal feelings about BLM wouldn't allow him to do it.
"I’m a Christian," the 27-year-old relief pitcher said, "so I just believe that I can’t kneel before anything besides God."
If you missed it, the MLB provided teams with a long piece of black fabric to signify unity before its Opening Day games on Thursday.
But, later in the evening, when it came time for the Dodgers and Giants to replicate the moment ... Coonrod refused to drop to a knee.
After the game, he told reporters his religious beliefs made it impossible for him to join in ... but he also said he didn't believe in some of the things he believes BLM stands for.
"I just can’t get on board with a couple things I’ve read about Black Lives Matter, how they lean towards Marxism,” Coonrod said. “And … they said some negative things about the nuclear family. I just can’t get on board with that.”
Coonrod said he meant "no ill will" by his gesture ... and added, "I’m not mad at someone who decided to kneel. I just don’t think it’s too much to ask that I just get the same respect.”
For the team's part, manager Gabe Kapler -- who not only knelt for the BLM moment but also during the national anthem -- said he respected Coonrod's decision to opt out.
"The one thing that we said is we were going to let people express themselves,” Kapler said. “We were going to give them the choice on whether they were going to stand, kneel or do something else. That was a personal decision for Sam.”