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Giants' Kapler becomes the first manager to kneel during the anthem

The San Francisco Giants' Gabe Kapler became the first major league manager to kneel during the national anthem, joining a number of his players in the action before a Monday night road exhibition game against the Oakland Athletics.

Reuters | Washington DC | Updated: 21-07-2020 10:12 IST | Created: 21-07-2020 09:07 IST
Giants' Kapler becomes the first manager to kneel during the anthem
Representative image Image Credit: Flickr

The San Francisco Giants' Gabe Kapler became the first major league manager to kneel during the national anthem, joining a number of his players in the action before a Monday night road exhibition game against the Oakland Athletics. According to multiple media reports, other Giants who took a knee were outfielders Austin Slater, Jaylin Davis, and Mike Yastrzemski as well as first base coach Antoan Richardson.

Kapler has been an outspoken backer of the Black Lives Matter movement, but he did not publicly announce his intention of kneeling on Monday. He did inform his players, though. Giants right-hander Kevin Gausman said to reporters, "He told us before the game. He said it's everybody's option. His biggest thing to us is whatever side you're on, whether you decide to stand or kneel, whatever reason, he's going to stand by us."

In online posts, Kapler has decried discrimination including racism and sexism. He wrote, "The number one thing I can do right now is carefully listening to Black people. I can hear their stories, their experiences, and their pain. I can ask follow-up questions. I can use my platform and my voice to amplify theirs. The follow-up step is to encourage and have a difficult conversation in the clubhouse." Kapler, 44, is entering his first season as the Giants' manager. He managed the Philadelphia Phillies the past two years, producing an overall 161-163 record.

In a 12-year playing career as an outfielder, Kapler batted .268 with a .329 on-base percentage, a .420 slugging percentage, 82 homers, and 386 RBIs in 1,104 games. He played for the Detroit Tigers (1998-99), Texas Rangers (2000-02), Colorado Rockies (2002-03), Boston Red Sox (2003-06), Milwaukee Brewers (2008) and Tampa Bay Rays (2009-10). Kapler earned a World Series ring as a member of the Red Sox's 2004 title team. The Bay Area has been at the forefront of sports figures taking a knee during the national anthem to protest racism and police brutality.

Then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" ahead of games in 2016. He hasn't played in the NFL since that year. The first MLB player to take a knee during the anthem was then-Oakland Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell in 2017. Maxwell spent last year with Acereros de Monclova in Mexico, and he re-signed with that club for this season.


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