Giants’ Gabe Kapler Responds to Donald Trump’s Comments on Kneeling

San Francisco Giants' manager Gabe Kapler kneels during the national anthem prior to an exhibition baseball game against the Oakland Athletics, Monday, July 20, 2020, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Ben Margot/Associated Press

The president may not understand that kneeling during the national anthem as a means of protesting police brutality and systemic racism is not disrespecting the flag, country or military, but San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler does.

After kneeling alongside first base coach Antoan Richardson and outfielders Jaylin Davis, Mike Yastrzemski and Austin Slater, among others, prior to Monday’s exhibition against the Oakland Athletics, Kapler addressed the notion that it was disrespectful and may turn some, like donald trump, away from watching games, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today:

“My response is I don’t see it as disrespect at all. I see nothing more American than standing up for what you believe in. I see nothing more patriotic than peaceful protests when things are frustrating and upsetting.

“And finally, there’s nobody that should make us stop doing the right thing. It doesn’t matter what leader says that they’re not going to be following a game. What matters the most is that we’re unwavering in trying to do what’s right.

“What guides our decision is standing up for people who need us to stand up for them.”

His comments come after trump tweeted that he will not watch a sporting event if someone kneels during the anthem:

Donald J. trump @realDonaldTrump

Looking forward to live sports, but any time I witness a player kneeling during the National Anthem, a sign of great disrespect for our Country and our Flag, the game is over for me!

Despite the president’s sentiment, Major League Baseball explained that such an action is not about the military or flag:

MLB @MLB

@MikeGrozier @SFGiants It has never been about the military or the flag. The players and coaches are using their platforms to peacefully protest.

SF Giants on NBCS @NBCSGiants

Giants players kneeling during the anthem https://t.co/xT2YkbQ8GS

As for Kapler, he said he held a meeting with his players and “wanted them to know that I wasn’t pleased with the way our country has handled police brutality,” per Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic.

“I told them I wanted to amplify the voices of The black community and marginalized communities as well,” he continued. “I told them that I wanted to use my platform to demonstrate my dissatisfaction with … clear systemic racism in our country.”

The president of the country may not support Kapler’s ideals, but Giants President Farhan Zaidi did in a statement:

Andrew Baggarly @extrabaggs

Giants president Farhan Zaidi’s statement to @TheAthletic in support of manager Gabe Kapler, the coaching staff and players: https://t.co/ZybM7jiiDe

Nightengale noted Kapler became the first MLB manager to protest police brutality and systemic racism by kneeling. However, he may not be the last. It has quickly become clear some in baseball are going to use their platform in such a way as the fight for social justice and against racism has taken on more urgency with worldwide protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd.

Members of the Cincinnati Reds, including star first baseman Joey Votto, also knelt prior to Tuesday’s exhibition against the Detroit Tigers.