Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon moved to clarify himself after comments made about outspoken and under-fire United States president Donald Trump.
Maddon received criticism for his remark about "respecting the White House" after Trump controversially condemned NFL players for kneeling during the national anthem, while he publicly withdrew the Golden State Warriors' invitation to visit the American capital.
After Saturday's MLB loss to the Milwaukee Brewers, a reporter asked Maddon for his thoughts about the controversy involving Trump, but the Cubs boss revealed on Sunday that he did not know what the 71-year-old had said on Twitter.
"I had no idea what he said," Maddon clarified. "I mean, how would I? I had no idea what was said prior to asking me that question.
"So my response was typical: Always respect the office and the White House and the seat of the presidency, like I said before when we attended [a ceremony with Trump]. That was what my response was all about. It had nothing to do with the situation."
Maddon, who led the Cubs to a drought-ending World Series triumph last season, added: "I've always spoken what's on my mind, and I've always respected other people doing the same.
"It's that simple. I just did not know the context of the question, and then when I read about it [Saturday] night when I got back to my room, I could understand what all the uproar was about easily.
"But I had no idea after the game that's what [Trump] had said.”
So how does Maddon feel about athletes protesting during the national anthem?
"I'm all into self-expression," he said. "And if a player feels he needs to express himself in that manner, so be it."