CHICAGO — White Sox manager Tony La Russa says he both loves and respects San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler, but disagrees with his form of protest regarding the latest mass shooting.
Kapler wrote this week that he will stay inside the Giants clubhouse while the national anthem is played before games. La Russa believes in the cause but not in Kapler’s actions.
“I think he’s absolutely right to be concerned … about what’s going on in our country,” La Russa said before his team hosted the Cubs on Saturday night. “He’s right there. Where I disagree is that the flag and the anthem are not appropriate places to try to air your objections.”
Nineteen children and two teachers were killed Tuesday at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. Shortly after, Kapler penned an article explaining why he can no longer stand outside while the anthem is being played, writing that he “does not agree with the state of this country”.
“When I was the same age as the children of Uvalde, my father taught me to defend the oath of allegiance when I believed that my country represented its people well or to protest and remain seated when it was not not the case,” Kapler wrote. “I don’t think that represents us well at the moment.”
La Russa reiterated his respect for Kapler’s intentions but believes his form of protest is disrespectful to the military and women.
“Part of their courage comes from what the flag means to them and when they hear the anthem,” La Russa said. “You have to understand what veterans think when they hear the anthem or see the flag. And the cost they paid and their families. And if you really understand that, I think it’s impossible not to not salute the flag and listen to the anthem.”
Meanwhile, many of Kapler’s fellow managers are offering their support for his decision.
Texas Rangers manager Chris Woodward said Kapler’s action was “courageous”.
“I think we’re all frustrated, especially in this country,” Woodward said. “Nobody’s happy. It’s not about which side you’re on. It’s just that we have to improve as a society. … I’m not really going to comment anyway on the fact whether or not I would do it, which he did.”
Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora said his former teammate Kapler spoke out on a number of topics and “for that, I’m proud of him. He’s a good friend of mine and kind of guy I respect from afar for what he does. , and if that’s what he does, good for him. I understand his reasons. He’s been very open about it and I know there’s has a lot of people who are going to support him.”
New York Mets manager Buck Showalter also said he respects “how Gabe feels and how he handles it.” Asked about Kapler, Philadelphia manager Joe Girardi replied, “It’s Gabe’s decision. That’s it, I’ll leave it at that.”
Washington Nationals manager Dave Martinez said he was rarely on the court for the anthem because of meetings and other pregame preparations.
“If I’m not here, it’s not because I’m boycotting anything,” Martinez said. “But I believe we have to find something that’s better for everyone’s life because what we have now isn’t working at all.
“Everyone has their own opinions and preferences. … Gabe is his own person and Gabe does what he wants to do. I do things differently from Gabe.”
Arizona manager Torey Lovullo called Kapler “a humanitarian” and that he was “very supportive of what Gabe is doing.” But Lovullo said he tries “not to get involved in this area. It’s a very, very sad and sensitive subject for me.”
Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Kapler “is very passionate about the things he believes in and that’s his way of protesting. … I don’t think any of us are happy of what’s happening in our country. I respect people who use whatever platforms they have to address it.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report