San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler published an essay on Friday criticizing the state of the country after the shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas, that killed 19 students and two teachers and left said he regretted not kneeling during the pregame. play the national anthem in protest.
The Giants played the New York Mets on Tuesday night at Oracle Park in San Francisco, just hours after the shootout. Like much of the sporting world, there were moments of silence ahead of the start of games across the country. Kapler said that while the anthem was playing, he considered taking a knee, but chose not to.
“My brain said get on one knee; my body didn’t listen,” Kapler wrote in the essay. “I wanted to walk inside; instead, I froze. I felt like a coward. I didn’t want to draw 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 thousands of people were using this game to escape the horrors of the world for a moment. I knew thousands more would not would not understand the gesture and would take it as an offense to the military, to veterans, to themselves.
“But I don’t agree with the state of this country. I wish I hadn’t let my discomfort compromise my integrity. I wish I could demonstrate what I learned from my father, only when you are not satisfied with your country, you make it known by protest. The house of the brave should encourage this.
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Later Friday, Kapler told reporters in Cincinnati that he would not be taking the field for the national anthem “until I feel better leading our country.”
Kapler’s comments echo those of other sports figures, such as Warriors coach Steve Kerr, who gave an impassioned speech in favor of gun control reform before Golden State faced the Dallas Mavericks Tuesday in the Western Conference Finals.
In his essay, Kapler added his voice to the chorus and lamented the influence lobbyists wield over politicians and their legislative decisions.
“We elect our politicians to represent our interests,” Kapler wrote. “Immediately after that 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 help. ‘love.
“But we weren’t given bravery and we are not free. Police at the scene handcuffed a mother as she begged them to come in and save her children. They blocked the parents who were trying to organize to stop the shooter, including a father who learned his daughter had been murdered while arguing with the cops We are not free when politicians decide that lobbyists and arms industries are more important than the freedom of our children to go to school without the need for bulletproof backpacks and active shooter drills.”
The shooting was the deadliest at a US elementary school since the 2012 attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Wearing a body armor and firing hundreds of rounds, the 18-year-old shooter killed 19 children and two adults, said Lt. Chris Olivarez of the Texas Department of Public Safety.
In the aftermath of the shooting, many politicians avoided talking about gun control issues. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, walked away from an interview on Wednesday after a reporter asked him why some mass shootings happen “only in America.” Many other lawmakers responded with calls to prayer.
“I am often struck before our games by the lack of delivery of the promise of what our national anthem stands for,” Kapler wrote. “We are in honor of a country where we elect representatives to serve us, to carefully consider and enact legislation that protects the interests of all the people of this country and to move this country forward towards the vision of” shining city on the hill.’ But instead, we rashly associate our moment of silence and grief with the equally thoughtless display of celebration for a country that refuses to embrace the concept of controlling the sale of weapons used almost exclusively for mass slaughter. of human beings.
“We have our moment (again and again) and then we move on without demanding real changes from the people we empower to make those changes. We stand up, bow our heads and people in power go on recreation, celebrating their own patriotism at every turn.”
Kapler, 46, is in his third season as manager at San Francisco and was a former player on six different teams from 1998 to 2010.
Contributors: Marina Pitofsky, N’dea Yancey-Bragg, Trevor Hughes and Chris Kenning