San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler said on Friday that he won’t stand for the National Anthem before games, pointing to a lack of legislative action on mass shootings.
“I don’t plan on coming out for the anthem going forward, until…I feel better about the direction of this country,” Kapler told reporters at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati on Friday. He did not appear on the field for the anthem ahead of the rain-delayed game.
Earlier in the day, Kapler published a blog post citing the recent fatal shooting of 19 children and two teachers at a school in Uvalde, Texas.
“We aren’t free when politicians decide that the lobbyist and gun industries are more important than our children’s freedom to go to school without needing bulletproof backpacks and active shooter drills,” Kapler wrote.
Kapler’s action followed Warrior coach Steve Kerr’s emotional comments on the Uvalde killings Wednesday. The announcer at the Warriors conference championship game on Thursday at the Chase Center also called for “sensible gun laws,” reflecting the broad support for gun control in San Francisco and much of California.
Kapler’s move also conjured the landmark protest of former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who sacrificed his NFL career by kneeling in protest of police violence against people of color. Kaepernick reportedly worked out with the Las Vegas Raiders this week in what could presage an unlikely return to the league.
Kapler took a knee on the field in 2020 after the George Floyd killing, along with several Giants players. Now he plans to stay in the dugout during the anthem.
In his blog post, Kapler said he regretted not acting at the Giants game immediately after the shootings.
“Players, staff and fans stood for the moment of silence, grieving the lives lost, and then we (myself included) continued to stand, proudly proclaiming ourselves the land of the free and the home of the brave. We didn’t stop to reflect on whether we are actually free and brave after this horrific event, we just stood at attention,” Kapler wrote.
“When I was the same age as the children in Uvalde, my father taught me to stand for the pledge of allegiance when I believed my country was representing its people well or to protest and stay seated when it wasn’t. I don’t believe it is representing us well right now.”Annie Gaus can be reached at [email protected].