MLB managers discuss Gabe Kapler national anthem protest after Uvalde shooting

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Several MLB managers are weighing in on the decision by San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler to protest the national anthem following last week’s school shooting in Texas.

On Friday, Kapler said he will no longer be attending the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” before games, which he clarified in an op-ed, saying he is “not okay with the state of this country.”

“When I was the same age as the children in Uvalde, my father taught me to stand for the pledge of allegiance when I believed my country was representing its people well or to protest and stay seated when it wasn’t,” Kapler wrote. “I don’t believe it is representing us well right now.”

MLB managers discuss Gabe Kapler national anthem protest after Uvalde shooting

Manager Gabe Kapler #19 of the San Francisco Giants looks on from the dugout during the game Atlanta Braves at Oracle Park on September 19, 2021 in San Francisco.
(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

MLB managers discuss Gabe Kapler national anthem protest after Uvalde shooting

The decision drew a strong response from White Sox manager Tony La Russa who stated that protesting the anthem was an insult to the men and women who died and served in the U.S. military. 

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“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. And if you truly understand that, I think it’s impossible not to salute the flag and listen to the anthem,” La Russa said. 

But other managers in the league are apparently in Kapler’s corner over the protest, which the manager announced after the elementary school shooting left at least 19 students and two adults dead. 

Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora said he was proud of Kapler, his former teammate, for being vocal.

“He’s a good friend of mine and the kind of guy I respect from afar for what he’s doing, and if this is what he’s doing, good for him,” Cora said. “I understand his reasons. He was very open about it and I know there’s a lot of people that are going to support him.”

WHITE SOX’S TONY LA RUSSA CALLS GIANTS’ GABE KAPLER’S NATIONAL ANTHEM PROTEST ‘NOT APPROPRIATE’

Texas Rangers manager Chris Woodward called Kapler’s actions “brave,” without commenting on whether he would have made the same decision. 

MLB managers discuss Gabe Kapler national anthem protest after Uvalde shooting

Manager Chris Woodward #8 of the Texas Rangers looks on prior to the game between the Texas Rangers and the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on Sunday, May 8, 2022, in New York, New York.
(Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

“I think we’re all frustrated, especially in this country,” Woodward said. “Nobody’s happy. It’s not about which side you’re on. It’s just we’ve got to get better as a society. … I’m not going to really make comment either way on whether I would or wouldn’t do what he did.”

Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said he was supportive of what Kapler was doing, but noted he tries “not to get involved in that arena. It’s a very, very sad and touchy subject for me.” 

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts added that 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.”

MLB managers discuss Gabe Kapler national anthem protest after Uvalde shooting

Manager Dave Roberts #30 of the Los Angeles Dodgers looks on in the dugout prior to game two of a doubleheader against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium on May 17, 2022, in Los Angeles
(Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

Washington Nationals manager Dave Martinez said he usually isn’t on the field for the anthem, but “if I’m not out there it’s not because I’m boycotting anything.”

New York Mets manager Buck Showalter also said he respected “how Gabe feels and the way he’s going about it.” 

MLB managers discuss Gabe Kapler national anthem protest after Uvalde shooting

New York Mets manager Buck Showalter (11) looks on during the MLB baseball game between the New York Mets and the Arizona Diamondbacks on April 24, 2022, at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona. 
(Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Asked about Kapler, Philadelphia Phillies manager Joe Girardi responded: “That’s Gabe’s decision. That’s all, I’m going to leave it at that.”

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Kapler previously protested the national anthem in 2020, when he joined several of his players in taking a knee to protest racial injustice and police brutality. 

Fox News’ Lawrence Richard and the Associated Press contributed to this report

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