Giants' Gabe Kapler Skipping National Anthem Indefinitely After Texas School Shooting

Erin WalshMay 27, 2022

CLEVELAND, OH - APRIL 15: Gabe Kapler #19 of the San Francisco Giants looks on before the game between the San Francisco Giants and the Cleveland Guardians at Progressive Field on Friday, April 15, 2022 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Sargent/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
Joe Sargent/MLB Photos via Getty Images

San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler will be skipping the national anthem before his club's games until further notice. 

Kapler told reporters Friday that he will not participate in the national anthem "until I feel better about the direction of our country" following the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, that killed 19 children and two adults. 

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“I don’t plan on coming out for the anthem going forward until I feel better about the direction of our country” – Gabe Kapler <a href="https://t.co/J1MdlVL3XI">pic.twitter.com/J1MdlVL3XI</a>

Kapler's comments come after he published a blog post on his personal website stating that he is "not okay with the state of this country" and noted that he considered taking a knee during the national anthem before the Giants' 9-3 win over the New York Mets on Wednesday, one day after the school shooting occurred: 

"Every time I place my hand over my heart and remove my hat, I’m participating in a self congratulatory glorification of the ONLY country where these mass shootings take place. On Wednesday, I walked out onto the field, I listened to the announcement as we honored the victims in Uvalde. I bowed my head. I stood for the national anthem. Metallica riffed on City Connect guitars.
"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."

Kapler also criticized how police officers in Uvalde, Texas, responded to the scene and put pressure on politicians to enact stricter gun laws, writing, "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."

The 46-year-old is one of many sports figures to speak up in the aftermath of the shooting, including Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, who gave an impassioned speech during his media availability ahead of Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals. 

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Steve Kerr on today's tragic shooting in Uvalde, Texas. <a href="https://t.co/lsJ8RzPcmC">pic.twitter.com/lsJ8RzPcmC</a>

In addition, the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays used their social media accounts during their matchup on Thursday to raise awareness about gun violence and its impact in the United States. The Rays also made a $50,000 donation to Everytown for Gun Safety.

Salvador Ramos, an 18-year-old from Uvalde Texas, killed 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School on Tuesday using an assault rifle after shooting and wounding his grandmother at her home.

Ramos was inside the school for over an hour before police officers rushed in to confront him. During a Friday news conference, Col. Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said that police at the scene made a series of missteps, including not immediately sending officers into a classroom where the shooter had barricaded himself. 

"From the benefit of hindsight where I'm sitting now, of course, it was not the right decision. It was a wrong decision. Period. There was no excuse for that," McCraw said. "There were plenty of officers to do what needed to be done, with one exception, is that the incident commander inside believed he needed more equipment and more officers to do a tactical breach at that time."

A Border Patrol agent eventually shot and killed Ramos, who purchased the weapons and ammo used in the shooting after turning 18 last week.