San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler said Friday that he will refuse to take to the field for the national anthem in protest against the country’s political direction after this week’s school shooting in Texas.
“I don’t plan to come forward for the national anthem in the future until I feel better about the direction of our country,” Kapler said before a series opener in Cincinnati. “I don’t expect it to necessarily move the needle, it’s just something I feel strong enough to take that step.”
Kapler said he needs more time to consider specific actions he might propose to prevent more such tragedies, such as stricter gun laws.
There were only seven Giants on the field—two dugout coaches, four players down the left field line, and an athletic trainer standing next to them—when “The Star-Spangled Banner” was played before Kapler and Reds manager David Bell took the lead. lineup swapped cards. The game started after a rain delay of 2 hours and 8 minutes.
Earlier in the day, Kapler spoke on his personal blog about the deaths of the 19 children and two teachers who were murdered in Uvalde.
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In a post titled “Home of the Brave?” Kapler wrote: “We elect our politicians to represent our interests. Immediately after this shooting we were told that we needed closed doors and armed teachers. We were given thoughts and prayers. We were told it could have been worse, and that we should just need love.
“But we haven’t got the courage, and we’re not free. … We’re not free when politicians decide that lobbyists and arms industry are more important than our children’s freedom to go to school without bulletproof backpacks and active target practice.”
Kapler went on to write: “Every time I put my hand on my heart and take off my hat, I join in a self-congratulatory celebration of the only country where these mass shootings take place. On Wednesday I walked onto the field ‘I listened to the announcement as we honored the victims in Uvalde. I bowed my head. I stood for the national anthem. Metallica riffed on City Connect guitars. My brain said drop to one knee; my body didn’t listen. I wanted to walk back in; instead I froze. I felt like a coward. I didn’t want to draw attention to myself. I didn’t want to take the victims or their families. †
Kapler has protested during the national anthem in the past. In July 2020, before the start of the virus-shortened 60-game season, Kapler joined outfielder Jaylin Davis on the knee for an exhibition game against the Oakland Athletics. Davis made a statement about racial and social problems facing the country.
Fellow outfielders Mike Yastrzemski and Austin Slater also chose to kneel. So was first base coach Antoan Richardson, while short stop Brandon Crawford stood between Davis and Richardson with one hand on each man’s shoulder.
Kapler’s latest comments came a day after the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays used their social media accounts during the game between the teams to spread information about how gun violence affects American life.