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Amid Gun Violence, Giants’ Gabe Kapler Will Not Stand for Anthem

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Gabe Kapler observed his own moment of silence sometime before the San Francisco Giants team he manages opened its Memorial Day Weekend series in Cincinnati on Friday night. His moment got here not before a national anthem nor while standing at attention at the sting of a dugout.

As a substitute, it occurred at a keyboard as he quietly filtered his own grief and outrage right into a fiery blog post under the headline, “Home of the Brave?”

He then tweeted the post, describing it with one sentence: “We’re not the land of the free nor the house of the brave right away.”

“After I was the identical age as the kids in Uvalde, my father taught me to face for the Pledge of Allegiance after I believed my country was representing its people well or to protest and stay seated when it wasn’t. I don’t imagine it’s representing us well,” Kapler wrote, adding: “Each time I place my hand over my heart and take away my hat, I’m participating in a self-congratulatory glorification of the ONLY country where these mass shootings happen.”

Consequently, as Kapler would later tell reporters in Cincinnati, he not intends to be on the sphere for pregame national anthems “until I feel higher concerning the direction of our country.” Kapler said he didn’t necessarily expect his protest to “move the needle,” but that he felt strongly enough to take this step.

After Friday’s game was delayed just over two hours due to inclement weather, only seven Giants were on the sphere — two coaches, 4 players and an athletic trainer — when the anthem was played.

Commentary from Times Opinion on the massacre at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

  • Michelle Goldberg: As we come to terms with one more tragedy, essentially the most common sentiment is a bitter acknowledgment that nothing goes to vary.
  • Nicholas Kristof, a former Times Opinion columnist: Gun policy is complicated and politically vexing, and it won’t make everyone protected. However it could reduce gun deaths.
  • Roxane Gay: For all our cultural obsession with civility, there’s nothing more uncivilized than the political establishment’s acceptance of the constancy of mass shootings.
  • Jay Caspian Kang: By sharing memes with each recent tragedy, we now have created a museum of unbearable sorrow, increasingly dense with names and photos of the deceased.

In his blog post, Kapler said he regretted standing on the sphere for the national anthem and observing a moment of silence before a game in San Francisco against the Mets this week just hours after a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Texas. Kapler said that he was “having a tough time articulating my thoughts the day of the shooting” and that “sometimes, for me, it takes a few days to place things together.”

In that way, he will not be unlike one other Bay Area sports figure who wrestled with essentially the most meaningful option to protest. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, formerly of the San Francisco 49ers, also struggled. He began by sitting in the course of the national anthem to protest racial inequality and police brutality, and after consulting with Nate Boyer, a retired Army Green Beret and former N.F.L. player, he began kneeling as an alternative.

For Kaepernick, that protest proved to have lasting consequences. Despite having previously led his team to a Super Bowl appearance, he was not signed after opting out of his contract following the 2016 season. He has only been given the possibility to work out for teams just a few times since. In 2019, he and his former teammate Eric Reid settled a lawsuit against the N.F.L. wherein they’d accused the league’s teams of colluding against them.

“My brain said drop to a knee; my body didn’t listen,” Kapler wrote of his swirl of emotions before this week’s Mets-Giants game. “I desired to walk back inside; as an alternative I froze. I felt like a coward. I didn’t need to call attention to myself. I didn’t need to take away from the victims or their families. There was a baseball game, a rock band, the lights, the pageantry. I knew that 1000’s of individuals were using this game to flee the horrors of the world for just somewhat bit. I knew that 1000’s more wouldn’t understand the gesture and would take it as an offense to the military, to veterans, to themselves.”

Kapler’s motion continues a gentle stream of protests from the sports world this week. Coach Steve Kerr of the Golden State Warriors forcefully spoke out in favor of gun control ahead of his team’s Western Conference finals game on Tuesday. On Thursday, each the Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays used their Twitter and Instagram feeds to post facts about gun violence slightly than posting anything concerning the game between the rival teams.

“We elect our legislators to represent our interests,” Kapler wrote. “Immediately following this shooting, we were told we wanted locked doors and armed teachers. We got thoughts and prayers. We were told it might have been worse, and we just need love.

“But we weren’t given bravery, and we aren’t free,” he wrote. “The police on the scene put a mother in handcuffs as she begged them to go in and save her children. They blocked parents trying to prepare to charge in to stop the shooter, including a father who learned his daughter was murdered while he argued with the cops. We aren’t free when politicians resolve that the lobbyist and gun industries are more essential than our kids’s freedom to go to high school without having bulletproof backpacks and energetic shooter drills.”

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