SF Giants manager to skip national anthem following school massacre

CINCINNATI (CBS SF) -- San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler will no longer come out for the national anthem before the start of each game following the massacre of schoolchildren and the bungled police response in Uvalde, Texas.

Kapler told reporters in Cincinnati ahead of the Giants game against the Reds Friday that he would not participate in the national anthem ceremony "until I feel better about the direction of our country."

In a blog post earlier Friday, Kapler described how he felt when a moment of silence was held at Oracle Park and at other sporting events on Tuesday, the day 19 children and two teachers were murdered at Robb Elementary School, "and we went on with our lives."

ALSO READ: Emotional Warriors head coach Steve Kerr on mass shooting: 'I'm tired of the moments of silence. Enough!'

"Players, staff and fans stood for the moment of silence, grieving the lives lost, and then we (myself included) continued to stand,, proudly proclaiming ourselves the land of the free and the home of the brave. We didn't stop to reflect on whether we are actually free and brave after this horrific event, we just stood at attention" said Kapler's post. "When I was the same age as the children in Uvalde, my father taught me to stand for the pledge of allegiance when I believed my country was representing its people well or to protest and stay seated when it wasn't. I don't believe it is representing us well right now."

Kapler pointed out how the 18-year-old gunman was easily able to buy multiple assault rifles and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, get into a school with its own police force, and murder children for nearly an hour. Authorities in Texas now say that police failed in their duty to breach locked doors and confront the shooter, even as parents begged officers to go in and stop the killing which was still ongoing.

In his blog post titled, "Home of the Brave?" Kapler said politicians are failing to represent the interests of the electorate on gun control, instead calling for hardening of school buildings and arming teachers and giving "thoughts and prayers."

"But we weren't given bravery, and we aren't free. 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," said Kapler. "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."

Kapler said sports leagues are linking the moment of silence and grief with "the equally thoughtless display of celebration for a country that refuses to take up the concept of controlling the sale of weapons used nearly exclusively for the mass slaughter of human beings."

"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," he said.

In 2020, Kapler and other Giants players knelt during the national anthem before a number of games to protest systemic racism in the country. During Tuesday's national anthem ceremony at Oracle Park, Kapler said he wanted to take a knee over but decided not to call attention to himself and take away from the victims or their families; and later felt like a coward for not kneeling or walking back inside the clubhouse.

"But I am not okay with the state of this country. I wish I hadn't let my discomfort compromise my integrity," he said. "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."

Examining gun violence in the U.S. after Texas school shooting

Gov. Abbott says he was “misled” about police response to Texas school shooting

Jury deliberations underway in Johnny Depp and Amber Heard defamation trial