Gabe Kapler isn’t happy with the way things are in the United States. He’s staging a silent protest over it.
In the wake of the May 24 shootings that left 19 students and two teachers dead at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, the Giants manager told reporters Friday that he would refuse to come out for the national anthem before games “until I feel better about the direction of our country.”
Gabe Kapler told reporters in Cincinnati that he doesn’t plan on coming out for the national anthem and that will be his plan going forward “until I feel better about the direction of our country.”
— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) May 27, 2022
The Giants are beginning a series Friday against the Reds in Cincinnati.
Kapler penned a heartfelt letter on his blog earlier Friday expressing his sadness over the tragedy, as well as his general frustration over the state of the country.
We’re not the land of the free nor the home of the brave right now. https://t.co/XilHsz4s0W
— gabe kapler (@gabekapler) May 27, 2022
We elect our politicians to represent our interests. Immediately following this shooting, we were told we needed locked doors and armed teachers. We were given thoughts and prayers. We were told it could have been worse, and we just need love.
But we weren’t given bravery, and we aren’t free.
MORE: Steve Kerr gives powerful, emotional speech on Uvalde
The letter, titled “Home of the Brave?”, also addressed Kapler’s decision to stand for the national anthem after the Giants and Mets observed a moment of silence May 24 for the Uvalde victims. Kapler said he regretted the decision immediately; he feels the anthem’s words ring hollow when events like the one that took place in Uvalde continue to occur:
My brain said drop to a knee; my body didn’t listen. 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. There was a baseball game, a rock band, the lights, the pageantry. I knew that thousands of people were using this game to escape the horrors of the world for just a little bit. I knew that thousands more wouldn’t understand the gesture and would take it as an offense to the military, to veterans, to themselves.
But I am not okay with the state of this country. I wish I hadn’t let my discomfort compromise my integrity. I wish that I could have demonstrated what I learned from my dad, that when you’re dissatisfied with your country, you let it be known through protest. The home of the brave should encourage this.
For many people in the U.S. and around the world, the American national anthem is not a symbol of pride or belief. Rather, it’s a celebration of a nation that has regularly failed to protect the world’s most vulnerable populations.
We thoughtlessly link our moment of silence and grief with the equally thoughtless display of celebration for a country that refuses to take up the concept of controlling the sale of weapons used nearly exclusively for the mass slaughter of human beings. We have our moment (over and over), and then we move on without demanding real change from the people we empower to make these changes. We stand, we bow our heads, and the people in power leave on recess, celebrating their own patriotism at every turn.
Now, it looks as though Kapler is following in the footsteps of another popular San Francisco sporting figure, Colin Kaepernick, to push for change after yet another tragedy.