San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler and several of his players knelt during the national anthem before the Giants’ 6-2 exhibition victory over the Oakland Athletics, and says he plans to use his position to speak out against racial injustice.
Kapler spoke to the team on Monday, saying that everyone would be supported by the Giants, no matter what they decide to do.
“I wanted them to know that I wasn’t pleased with the way our country has handled police brutality, and I told them I wanted to amplify their voices and I wanted to amplify the voice of the Black community and marginalized communities as well,” Kapler said (h/t ESPN).
“So I told them that I wanted to use my platform to demonstrate my dissatisfaction with the way we’ve handled racism in our country. I wanted to demonstrate my dissatisfaction with our clear systemic racism in our country, and I wanted them to know that they got to make their own decisions, and we would respect and support those decisions. I wanted them to feel safe in speaking up.”
Kapler said the Giants will continue to conduct important discussions together as a team and “make them a part of the fabric of our clubhouse.”
Kapler said some of the Giants reached out to other organizations.
“We’ve had a lot of conversations about the anthem over the course of the last 72 hours, and when I say we, I mean our coaching staff and our players,” Kapler said.
“We connected with small groups of players. We connected with players individually and had meaningful conversations about this topic.”
Giants president Farhan Zaidi issued a statement following the game saying that the entire Giants organization “proud of our players and staff for continuing to participate in the national conversation about racial injustice.”
“We support those who knelt to peacefully protest racial injustice and those who stood to express love of country,” the statement said. “We do not see these as mutually exclusive sentiments and believe the freedom to express both is what our country is about.”
As baseball makes it back, sports is starting to provide a platform for players to speak up and speak out on a variety of issues.