Michael Sweet of openly Christian rockers STRYPER has defended San Francisco Giants pitcher Sam Coonrod for citing his religion as a decision not to kneel during a moment honoring the "Black Lives Matter" movement ahead of the season opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Coonrod was the only player to stand during a demonstration before last night's opening slate of games to make a statement about inequality. After the game, Coonrod was asked by reporters about being the lone player who stood for both the demonstration and the national anthem. "I don't think I'm better than anybody. I'm just a Christian," he told reporters. "I believe I can't kneel before anything but God, Jesus Christ. I chose not to kneel. I feel if I did kneel I'd be a hypocrite. I don't want to be a hypocrite. "I just can't get on board with a couple things I've read about 'Black Lives Matter', how they lean towards Marxism," Coonrod added. "And … they said some negative things about the nuclear family. I just can't get on board with that." Coonrod comments were widely praised by conservative sites such as Breitbart and the Daily Caller. Earlier today, Sweet took to his Twitter to share a Fox News article about Coonrod's decision to stay on his feet while everyone else knelt, and he included the following message: "If you say you're for equal rights & the rights of everyone then you better respect this guy! He has the right to stand for his faith & his beliefs just as anyone else does. We have to lose the double standard mentality! Do you agree?" In a 2018 interview with the Detroit Free Press, Michael said that STRYPER was never fully embraced by the heavy metal and hard rock communities, largely because of the band's Christian lyrics. "We've never been accepted by either side," he said. "The secular side, the mainstream, they've never accepted us to this day. We're probably that band that everyone's going to go to whenever there's a time to mock. We'll be the band used for that in most cases. Now on the Christian side, we've never really had the full support of the Christian side because we don't fit into their little club. We're not wearing suits and ties and going to every church and preaching." Formed 37 years ago, STRYPER's name comes from Isaiah 53:5, which states: "But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed."

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