Giants’ Kapler won’t take field for anthem after Texas shooting

Sports

San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler smiles after being introduced during a news conference at Oracle Park Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019, in San Francisco. Gabe Kapler has been hired as manager of the San Francisco Giants, a month after being fired from the same job by the Philadelphia Phillies. Kapler replaces Bruce Bochy, who retired at the end of the season following 13 years and three championships with San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — San Francisco Giants Manager Gabe Kapler told reporters before the Giants’ Friday game in Cincinnati that he would not come out on the field for the national anthem until he feels “better about the direction of this country.”

His announcement comes after he published an essay on Friday morning about the state of the U.S. following Tuesday’s mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas.

Kapler’s essay primarily focused on the national anthem, and he claimed that the country does not represent the anthem’s words. His piece was critical of the United States government, and he said he was, “not okay with the state of this country.”

“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,” he said in the essay. “I don’t believe it is representing us well right now.”

He mentioned that police waited to enter the school and stop the shooter, and blocked parents who tried to do so. He also criticized politicians for not enacting stricter gun restrictions.

“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,” he wrote.

Kapler stood for the national anthem before Wednesday’s game against the New York Mets, but he said in the essay that he wanted to kneel or go inside. He said he “felt like a coward” for not taking action.

“My brain said drop to a knee; my body didn’t listen,” Kapler wrote. “I wanted to walk back inside; instead I froze. I felt like a coward. I didn’t want to call attention to myself. I didn’t want to take away from the victims or their families.”

Kapler also organized a national anthem protest in 2020 in support of racial justice, when he and two players knelt for the national anthem before the first regular season game he managed as a Giant.

Kapler joins the Golden State Warriors’ Steve Kerr as coaches who have been outspoken following the shooting. On Tuesday afternoon, Kerr gave a passionate speech about the incident and called on politicians to take action before storming off the podium.

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