Giants manager Gabe Kapler said that he will no longer participate in pregame national anthem ceremonies following last week’s mass shooting that killed 19 children and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas.
The Giants’ skipper wrote that his dad inspired him to protest when the country is not representing its people well.
“I’m often struck before our games by the lack of delivery of the promise of what our national anthem represents,” he wrote. “We stand in honor of a country where we elect representatives to serve us, to thoughtfully consider and enact legislation that protects the interests of all the people in this country and to move this country forward towards the vision of the “shining city on the hill.” But instead, we thoughtlessly link our moment of silence and grief with the equally thoughtless display of celebration for a country that refuses to take up the concept of controlling the sale of weapons used nearly exclusively for the mass slaughter of human beings.”
“We have our moment (over and over), and then we move on without demanding real change from the people we empower to make these changes. We stand, we bow our heads, and the people in power leave on recess, celebrating their own patriotism at every turn.
“Every time I place my hand over my heart and remove my hat, I’m participating in a self-congratulatory glorification of the ONLY country where these mass shootings take place. On Wednesday, I walked out 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.”
According to ESPN, many fellow MLB managers commended Kapler, but none said they would be willing to join him in protest.
“I think he's exactly right to be concerned ... with what's happening in our country," White Sox manager Tony La Russa said. "He's right there. Where I disagree is the flag and the anthem are not appropriate places to try to voice your objections."
Unlike the NFL, NBA and MLS, MLB has not had large-scale protests during the national anthem. Colin Kapernick, who made his living in San Francisco as a member of the 49ers, kneeled for the national anthem in 2016 to protest the treatment of Black people by the government.
Kaepernick’s protests were politically divisive, and many argued that the demonstration led to him getting blacklisted by the NFL following the 2016 season. The result was a settlement between Kaepernick and the NFL in 2019.