San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler is speaking out about the state of the country in the wake of Tuesday's mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.
In a post on his personal website, Kapler wrote that he is "not okay" with where things are in the United States.
Kapler noted he considered taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem prior to San Francisco's game against the New York Mets on Tuesday, but he didn't because he "didn’t want to call attention" to himself:
"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."
The 46-year-old said his father taught him to stand up for the pledge of allegiance when he believed the country was representing its people well or to protest and remain seated when it wasn't.
"I don’t believe it is representing us well right now," Kapler wrote.
Speaking to reporters prior to Friday's game against the Cincinnati Reds, Kapler said he won't come out of the dugout for the national anthem before games going forward "until I feel better about the direction of our country."
Kapler was also critical of the police response and politicians who receive money from gun lobbyists:
"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 organize 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 decide that the lobbyist and gun industries are more important than our children's freedom to go to school without needing bulletproof backpacks and active shooter drills."
Salvador Ramos killed 21 people, including 19 children and two teachers, after walking into the school with an assault rifle. He also shot his grandmother in the face at her home before taking his grandparents' car to drive to the school, per the Los Angeles Times.
Ramos was killed by a Border Patrol agent.
Col. Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, told reporters on Friday that police officers made several missteps in their response to the situation.
The mass shooting is the deadliest at a U.S. elementary school since 2012 when 26 people were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. It has led to renewed calls for gun-law reform across the country, including the sports world.
The Golden State Warriors held a moment of silence for the victims prior to Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals and provided fans a way to support sensible gun laws.
Golden State Warriors @warriors
Our hearts are with the families and friends of the 21 victims who were tragically killed at Robb Elementary School.<br><br>To learn more about how you can support sensible gun laws in America, please visit <a href="https://t.co/ph56QTvK6w">https://t.co/ph56QTvK6w</a>, <a href="https://t.co/RIry1Yco4s">https://t.co/RIry1Yco4s</a>, or <a href="https://t.co/4arwEYO89s">https://t.co/4arwEYO89s</a>. <a href="https://t.co/9SHcVaSgDF">pic.twitter.com/9SHcVaSgDF</a>
Instead of covering their game on Thursday night, the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays used their social media accounts to share stats and facts about gun violence and its impact in the United States.
Kapler noted he's "often struck before our games by the lack of delivery of the promise of what our national anthem represents."
He closed his post with a similar message: "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."