HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - A controversy surrounding a professional baseball player originally from the Tennessee Valley and a local restaurant is getting a lot of attention on social media and from national news organizations. Bruce Maxwell who played for the Oakland Athletics claims he was discriminated against and refused service because he took a knee during the National Anthem.
Maxwell claims he was refused service at Keegan's Public House on October 3. The MLB player said he went to the Irish pub for lunch with two friends, one of which was Huntsville City Councilman Devyn Keith.
Now the waiter is firing back.
Matt Henry tells WHNT News 19, he was just checking Maxwell's ID, didn't realize he was serving a famous baseball player and that Anthem politics never came up at the table.
“We had a little back and forth about his picture because I looked at it and said, 'Oh, it’s you,' because he was making the same face in the picture as he was at the table," said Henry.
Maxwell remembers it differently.
"Is there a problem? He goes, 'Oh, you’re that guy.' I was like, 'Excuse me? You were the guy who took a knee over the injustices and the issues going on right now. And I was like, 'Yeah, that’s me,'" said Maxwell.
Maxwell claims that's when Henry denied him service. Both Henry and Maxwell agree on the next part - Maxwell's friend's ID was expired.
“That is an invalid ID and I cannot serve alcohol to people who do not have a valid ID. He offered to go get what he said was a Georgia ID out of his car and I said, 'Well, you’re going to have to,'" said Henry.
We reached out to Councilman Devyn Keith for an interview, but he declined to talk on camera. Keith did, however, take to Facebook Live Wednesday night to give his account of the story.