In the wake of the Uvalde mass shooting, the sports world is weighing in. Now joining Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr, the Miami Heat, and the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays in speaking out is San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler, who says he's not going to take the field for the national anthem until he thinks things in the US have improved, reports Yahoo Sports. "I don't plan on coming out for the anthem going forward until I feel ... better about the direction of our country," the 46-year-old told reporters Friday before a game against the Cincinnati Reds. He added: "I don't expect it to move the needle necessarily; it's just something that I feel strongly enough about to take that step."
Kapler, who played in the majors for more than a decade, elaborated on his stance in a blog post, which he introduced on Friday with a tweet that read: "We're not the land of the free nor the home of the brave right now." Kapler explains that when he was growing up, his dad encouraged him 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." He notes, "I don't believe it is representing us well right now," laying out the details of the Uvalde shooting and the police reaction to it as a striking example of that.
He apologizes for standing for the anthem during a game on Wednesday, the day after the shooting, when there was also a tribute to the victims. "I froze," he writes. "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." Upon further reflection, however, he realized that "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." He reiterates that "I am not okay with the state of this country" and recalls what his dad once told him: "that when you’re dissatisfied with your country, you let it be known through protest. The home of the brave should encourage this." Read his full essay here. (Read more Gabe Kapler stories.)