PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) — The struggling Phillies welcome an old friend back to town. Gabe Kapler, their former skipper, is stirring up some controversy.
On Friday, San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler said he would refuse to take the field during the national anthem to protest the direction of the country in the wake of the Texas school shooting.
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But he decided to suspend his protest for Memorial Day.
True to his word, Kapler was on the field for the anthem Monday at Citizens Bank Park.
Kapler, who began his protest Friday, stood by himself at the railing of the Giants dugout during the playing of taps during the holiday ceremony, which was followed by a rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” by a military bugle company. A few other San Francisco players stood on the chalk line past the third-base bag during their stretching exercises.
“Today, I’ll be standing for the anthem,” Kapler wrote earlier Monday on his blog. “While I strongly believe in the right to protest and the importance of doing so, I also strongly believe in honoring and mourning our country’s service men and women who fought and died for that right. Those who serve in our military, and especially those who have paid the ultimate price for our rights and freedoms, deserve that acknowledgment and respect, and I am honored to stand on the line today to show mine.”
Kapler announced on Friday that he intended to remain in the clubhouse during the anthem to protest “the lack of delivery of the promise of what our national anthem represents” following the shootings that killed 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas .
“The way I see it is anything that sparks thoughtful conversation is good,” Kapler told reporters on Monday.
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Kapler said he was not ready to announce whether his protest will resume on Tuesday night.
“The days move really fast,” he said. “We’re going to come out and talk about Giants and Phillies today and we’ll get into the game and then we’ll spend some time trying to get away from the game. Then the game starts the next day. I want to have my thoughts perfectly formulated. I will formulate them and I will share them. I just don’t have them right now.”
Joe Girardi replaced Kapler as Philadelphia’s manager following the 2019 season
“Everyone has a choice in this country, right?” Girardi said. “I mean that’s what America is founded on. It’s not the choice that I’ll make. But with all the choices we make in life there are consequences, no matter what you do, so you have to be prepared to explain why you do things in this world. And it’s not something that I would do.”
Several of Kapler’s fellow managers offered their support for his decision to avoid the field during the anthem. But Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa said that while he agrees with Kapler that something needs to be done, the anthem isn’t the proper time to protest.
“While I was making allowances for other opinions on all sides of the topics, I understand that opinions are wide-ranging,” Kapler said Sunday.
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(© Copyright 2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism