July 20, 2020

SF Manager Gabe Kapler & Three Other Giants Kneel For Anthem Before Exhibition Game

San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler, outfielders Austin Slater and Jaylin Davis, and coach Antoan Richardson knelt during the playing of the national anthem on Monday before an exhibition game against the Oakland Athletics. Shortstop Brandon Crawford stood between Davis and Richardson with a hand on each of their shoulders.

Kapler (a member of the 2004 Red Sox):
We've had a lot of conversations about the anthem over the course of the last 72 hours. When I say "we," I mean the coaching staff and our players. We connected with small groups of players. We connected with players individually. In addition, many of us reached out to people in other organizations and had a feel for how we could amplify the voices of the Black community and other marginalized communities.

I spoke to the group today and I gave them essentially two messages. The first message was, our coaching staff and organization would support any statement they wanted to make. If they kneeled for the anthem, we would support that. If they stood for the anthem, we would support that, too, and we wouldn't pass judgment on them for making any statement or standing up for what they believe in or expressing themselves.

I did that because I wanted them to know 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 voices of the black community and marginalize communities as well. I told them I wanted to use my platform to express dissatisfaction with how we've handled racism in this country. I told them I wanted to express 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, and so we had these kind of discussions for the last several days and will continue to have them … and make them part of the fabric of our clubhouse.
I've been taking time to educate myself over the past month about social injustice towards people of color in this country. Simply put, things need to change. Every person, no matter their skin color, has the fundamental right to expect the same experiences and treatment free from prejudices in this country and around the world. I respect and am thankful to all that are serving and have served. I mean no disrespect, nor am trying to belittle their sacrifice. When I reflected on my life and my experiences I was unaware of the privilege and safety that came with the color of my skin. I strongly believe change needs to happen and believe this is the proper way to demonstrate my beliefs on the subject.
The anthem was something that had been discussed a little bit as a team and was something I personally went back and forth with for a while. Ultimately, I chose to stand because (my wife) Jalynne's brother was in the military when he was younger, and standing for the flag and what it is supposed to represent is a big deal for them, so it is for me too. That does not at all mean that I don't support the movement, or condone police brutality or inequality. I talked to Jaylin about putting my hand on his shoulder to show my support for him and the movement while still standing for the flag because of family being in the military. He was good with it and appreciated it. Antoan happened to be next to me also so I put my other hand on him for the same reasons. He thanked me for it afterwards. The biggest thing we talked about as a team was that we would support each other and be there for each other. Whether or not we kneel, I think that's what this is all about. Being there to support and love each other.
Also, Alyssa Nakken — the first woman on a major league coaching staff — coached first base for the Giants.

Former A's catcher Bruce Maxwell was the first major leaguer to kneel for the anthem, in 2017.