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Giants’ Kapler suspends Uvalde anthem protest on Memorial Day

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San Franciso Giants Manager Gabe Kapler stands for the National Anthem prior to a game against the Philadelphia Phillies, as he makes a Memorial Day exception to his not being on the field in protest US gun violence./AFP
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May 31, 2022 - 12:37 PM

LOS ANGELES — San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler stood on the field for the pre-game national anthem Sunday, suspending his protest of US gun violence for the Memorial Day holiday.

Kapler, also a former Phillies skipper, said over the weekend he wouldn’t take the field for the anthem following the shooting deaths of 19 children and two teachers last week at a Uvalde, Texas elementary school.

But on his personal blog he explained Monday that he would make an exception for Memorial Day, when the Giants played in Philadelphia.

“Today, I’ll be standing for the anthem,” Kapler wrote.

“While I believe strongly in the right to protest and the importance of doing so, I also believe strongly in honoring and mourning our country’s servicemen and women who fought and died for that right,” he added.

“Those who serve in our military, and especially those who have paid the ultimate price for our rights and freedoms, deserve that acknowledgement and respect, and I am honored to stand on the line today to show mine.”

On Friday, Kapler said he would stay in the clubhouse during the anthem performance “until I feel better about the direction of our country.”

Kapler wrote that he knew the decision would be divisive, with many preferring sports to offer a respite from “the horrors of the world.”

“But I am not OK with the state of this country,” he wrote. “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.”

Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa disagreed with that stance, but others in baseball, including New York Mets manager Buck Showalter, Texas Rangers manager Chris Woodward and Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora said they supported him.

Steve Kerr, coach of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors, said peaceful protest such as Kapler’s was “what our country is founded on.”

Kerr had used his basketball team’s pre-game press conference Tuesday to make a powerful plea for gun control just hours after the shooting at Uvalde’s Robb Elementary School.

Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka kept the matter at the forefront Sunday night, even as his team celebrated a victory over the Miami Heat to reach the NBA Finals.

As he took questions about the game and his team’s championship prospects, Udoka interjected remarks saying it was too soon to let the Uvalde shooting slip from mind.

“We talk about this game that we love and put all our passion into, and it’s not life or death,” Udoka said. “We win or we lose, we go home and kiss our kids, and you move on either way.

“But you sit back and think about 19 children and two adults that don’t get that. That’s life or death. That’s real,” he said.

“That’s something that I don’t want to be forgotten. The awareness of that. It just happened a week ago, and it seems to be pushed in people’s memory already. Change is needed.”

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