SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler told reporters before the team’s 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, KRON reports.
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.”
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 Golden State Warriors Head Coach 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.