The Giants' Sam Coonrod remains standing during the National Anthem in a Dodgers-Giants game last week. Associated Press photo.
SAN FRANCISCO - Carrollton native Sam Coonrod, now a Major League Baseball pitcher for the San Francisco Giants, received some attention this past week during the pre-game of the Giants-Dodgers contest in Los Angeles. Coonrod said he meant no ill will by what he did on the field, and that it was a matter of his faith.

Coonrod chose not to join his other teammates as some of the Giants kneeled during the National Anthem rendition by Keith Williams Jr. in center field. In a sign of unity intended to support the Black Lives Movement, every player and coach from both the Dodgers and Giants held a long piece of black fabric. Coonrod hung on to the fabric, like all the other players and coaches, but remained on his feet standing.

“I don’t think I am better than anyone,” he told the media afterward. “I’m a Christian, so I just believe that I can’t kneel before anything but God.”

Coonrod did mention he wished he had been able to converse with his teammates about his feelings beforehand. He said the moment of unity was discussed with him only minutes before the team took the field.

At Southern Illinois University-Carbondale as a junior, he finished the year with a 2.87 ERA. He ranked ninth in the conference with 77 strikeouts and a .226 opponents’ batting average. He threw 42 strikeouts in the MVC in 42.1 innings. Coonrod posted 199 strikeouts in his three-year SIUC career.

At Carrollton, Coonrod was a three-sport star, participating in football, basketball, and baseball. He led the Hawks to a 33-1-1 record and the 2011 state title in baseball under Coach Greg Pohlman.

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