Which, as he showed Thursday, is on the opposite side of a lot of people in the sport. MORE: Betts alone on Dodgers in taking a knee during anthemThe second-year Giants pitcher refused to bend the knee prior to his team’s season opener vs. the rival Dodgers. He towered above the rest of the uniformed personnel before the national anthem as they demonstrated for racial justice and against police brutality. A few stayed grounded for the anthem, most notably Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts. Some of Coonrod’s mates did, too. Coonrod stayed upright the entire time.After the game, an 8-1 Giants loss in which he did not pitch, Coonrod gave reporters three explanations why he stayed rooted to the foul line: 1. Not enough advance notice. He said he didn’t have adequate time to talk it over with his teammates.2. His Christian faith, which he said prohibits him from kneeling before anything (or anyone) but God and Jesus. “I feel that if I did kneel, I would be being a hypocrite. I didn’t want to be a hypocrite. Like I said, I didn’t mean any ill will toward anyone,” Coonrod said, per Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area. He said he doesn’t get upset with people who kneel. 3. His wariness of Black Lives Matter. “I just can’t get on board with a couple of things that I have read about Black Lives Matter,” he said (again, per Pavlovic). “How they lean towards Marxism and they’ve said some negative things about the nuclear family. I just can’t get on board with that.”The first explanation should be dismissed out of hand. Coonrod showed that no amount of lead time would have changed his actions. He knew what was coming, and he still stood resolute. Give him credit for that, at least. Would he have retreated to the clubhouse or bullpen had he been given a few more hours to think about it? Seems doubtful.Coonrod might be on better footing with his basing his stance on religious grounds. But it’s still difficult to follow how taking a principled stand by not standing could make a person of faith two-faced. If Coonrod kneels only for God, then he can pray silently for an end to police abuses and foul treatment of people based on assumptions about skin color. He could be up front about it, too. “I don’t think kneeling is proper in the context of secular protests; I will show my solidarity by kneeling for the right reasons,” he could say.That would leave Coonrod just not wanting to look like a hypocrite when it comes to BLM. He agrees with the facile notion that people who march under its flag are anti-American anarchists who are backed by shadowy fellow traitors. He’s using his faith as a shield in front of one of his faces — the uncharitable one. If he kneels, then he’s giving his tacit approval of the movement. It’s not clear whether he wore the “Black Lives Matter” T-shirts that were distributed to uniformed personnel.Bruce Maxwell is noticing all this. Ian Desmond is, too. Andrew McCutchen, the man who came up with the idea of the black ribbon, might be taking a few notes himself.Giants manager Gabe Kapler said Friday (per the San Francisco Chronicle) that Coonrod will address his teammates, but it’s not known whether the pitcher has spoken yet with outfielder Jaylin Davis, the team’s lone Black American player and a social justice advocate. Sam Coonrod stood alone Thursday night. Stood up for his beliefs. Stood against MLB’s newfound attention to contemporary issues of race in the United States.That reads like an endorsement of what Coonrod did, doesn’t it? It isn’t, so pardon me for not being as crystal clear as Coonrod was about where he stands on baseball’s social justice efforts. Coonrod said that people ought to respect his stance. They absolutely should, if it’s earned. The best way he can do that is to be authentic about his beliefs on BLM.He needs to say whenever he gets the chance that Black lives do matter, but that he can’t support the organization’s full agenda, and he needs to be more specific about why. Saying “a couple of things I have read” is lazy and unpersuasive.Otherwise, his bringing religion into it is a convenient copout. He needs to wear his belief like a cross he wants to bear. He shouldn’t be hiding behind one.