San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler announced Friday that he would not be taking the field for the playing of the national anthem “until I feel better about the direction of our country.”
Kapler’s decision to not partake in anthem festivities comes in the wake of the horrific school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, that left 21 people, including 19 children, dead. Fellow MLB managers have been largely supportive of Kapler, but the most accomplished member of the coaching fraternity expressed some issue with the Giants manager’s stance.
“I think he’s exactly right to be concerned … with what’s happening in our country. He’s right there,” Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa said of Kapler, per ESPN.
“Where I disagree is the flag and the anthem are not appropriate places to try to voice your objections.”
The 77-year-old Baseball Hall of Famer said he likes and has “great respect” for Kapler, but that in his view, such a demonstration is disrespectful to members and veterans of the United States Armed Forces
“Some of their courage comes from what the flag means to them and when they hear the anthem. You need to understand what the veterans think when they hear the anthem or see the flag. And the cost they paid and their families,” La Russa said.
“And if you truly understand that, I think it’s impossible not to salute the flag and listen to the anthem.”
La Russa, a three-time World Series champion and the second-winningest manager of all time, was hardly the only manager to weigh in on Kapler’s actions.
Texas Rangers manager Chris Woodward said Kapler was “brave” for what he is doing.
New York Mets manager Buck Showalter said he respected “how Gabe feels and the way he’s going about it.”
Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, who called out lawmakers earlier in the week, said Kapler “is very passionate about things he believes in and that’s his way of protesting …
“I don’t think any of us are happy with what’s going on in our country. I do respect people using whatever platforms they have to address that.”
Contributing: Associated Press