San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler said Friday he would refuse to take the field for the national anthem to protest the government’s inaction on gun violence following Tuesday’s fatal shooting at an elementary school in Texas.
“I don’t plan on coming out for Anthem until I feel better about the direction my country is taking,” Kapler said ahead of the first match of the Giants’ series against the Reds in Cincinnati. “I don’t expect it to necessarily move the needle, it’s just something that I find well enough to make that move.”
Kapler, a former professional baseball player who has managed the Giants since 2020, detailed his protest in Friday’s blog post. He reflected on the sports world’s immediate reaction to the killing of 19 elementary school students and two teachers by an 18-year-old gunman.
Kapler wrote, “Players, staff and fans stood for a moment of silence, mourning the lives lost, and then we (myself included) stood still, proudly declaring ourselves the Land of the Independent and the Home of the Braves. ” “We didn’t stop to reflect on whether we were truly free and brave after this horrific event, we just stood in meditation.”
Kapler said he felt “like a coward” for not kneeling or leaving the field during the national anthem.
“I wish I hadn’t let my restlessness compromise my integrity,” he wrote.
Kapler’s performance echoes past actions by professional athletes, most famously former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who decided to take a knee during the anthem to protest racial injustice. Protests against the anthem in support of Black Lives Matter became more widespread after the killing of George Floyd in May 2020. (Kapler himself became the first Major League Baseball manager to kneel during the anthem in July 2020.)
Others in professional sports have spoken out on gun violence in the days following the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.
On Thursday, the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays opted to share scores and key moments from the teams’ matchups and instead dedicated their Twitter accounts to distributing statistics about gun violence. Rays also announced $50,000 donation For Everytown for Gun Safety, a major advocacy group pushing for gun control.
And on Tuesday, Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr made a passionate plea for reform ahead of Game Four of the NBA’s Western Conference Finals.
“It’s pathetic. I’ve had enough,” Kerr said before exiting the press conference.