Following devastating mass shootings in Texas and New York this month, San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler said Friday that he will remain off the field during the pregame national anthem moving forward.
Kapler, who has championed issues relating to race and social injustice, made his intentions known in an essay published on his personal website Friday and to media members before the Giants played on the road against the Cincinnati Reds.
“I just don’t plan on coming out for the anthem going forward, until I feel … better about the direction of our country,” Kapler said. “That will be the step. I don’t expect it to move the needle necessarily. It’s something that I feel strongly enough about to take that step.”
The action harkens back to former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who began to kneel during pregame national anthem in 2016 to draw attention to social injustices faced by the Black community.
Kaepernick has not played in the NFL since that 2016 season, although he did have a workout with the Las Vegas Raiders this week.
Kapler said he has struggled mentally and emotionally since Tuesday’s shooting at an Uvalde, Texas, elementary school that left 19 children and two teachers dead.
“I knew that I was not in my best space mentally and I knew that it was in connection with some of the hypocrisy of standing for the national anthem and how it coincided with the moment of silence and how those two things didn’t sync up well for me,” Kapler said. “But I couldn’t make sense of it in real time, and it took me a couple of days to pull all of my thoughts together and to be able to articulate them clearly.”
Kapler’s decision follows the plea for better gun control measures from another San Francisco coach. The Golden State Warriors’ Steve Kerr, whose father was shot and killed in 1984, used his pregame media time Tuesday to insist the United States Senate do more about gun control.
On Friday, Kapler posted his essay titled “Home of the Brave?” to his lifestyle website, kaplifestyle.com.
“But I am not OK with the state of this country,” Kapler wrote, expressing disappointment that he did not offer any sort of protest for this week’s school shooting before Friday.
–Field Level Media