The San Francisco Giants team manages to open its Memorial Day Weekend series in Cincinnati on Friday night. His moment did not come before a national anthem while standing at attention at the edge of a dugout.
Instead, it happened at a keyboard as he quietly filtered his own grief and outrage into a fiery blog post under the headline, “Home of the Brave?”
He then tweeted the postdescribing it with one sentence: “We’re not the land of the free or the home of the brave right now.”
“When I was the same age as the children in Uvalde, my father taught me to stand for the Allegiance of Pledge when I believed my country was representing its people well or to protest and stay seated when it was not. I don’t believe it’s representing us well, “Kapler wrote, adding:” 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. “
Consequently, as Kapler would later tell reporters in Cincinnati, he no longer intends to be on the field for pregame national anthems “until I feel better about the direction of our country.” Kapler said he certainly shouldn’t expect his protest to “move the needle,” but that he felt strongly enough to take this step.
In his blog post, Kapler said he regretted standing on the field for a national anthem and observing a moment of silence before a game against the San Francisco Mets this week just hours after a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School. Texas. Kapler said he was “having a hard time articulating my thoughts of the day” and that “sometimes, for me, it takes a couple of days to put things together.”
From Opinion: The Texas School Shooting
Commentary from the Times Opinion on an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.
- Michelle Goldberg: As we come to terms with yet another tragedy, the most common sentiment is a bitter acknowledgment that nothing is going to change.
- Nicholas Kristof, a former Times Opinion columnist: Gun policy is complex and politically vexing, and it won’t make everyone safe. But it could reduce gun deaths.
- Roxane Gay: For all our cultural obsession with civility, there is nothing more uncivilized than the political establishment’s acceptance of the constancy of mass shootings.
- Jay Caspian Kang: By sharing memes with each new tragedy, we have created a museum of unbearable sorrow, increasingly dense with names and photos of the deceased.
In that way, he is not unlike another Bay Area sports figure who wrestled with the most meaningful way to protest. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, formerly of the San Francisco 49ers, also struggled. He started by sitting during the national anthem to protest racial inequality and police brutality, and after consulting with Nate Boyer, a retired Army Green Beret and former NFL player, he started kneeling instead.
For Kaepernick, that protest has proven to have lasting consequences. Having had a history of leading his team to a Super Bowl appearance, he was not signed after opting out of his contract the following 2016 season. He has only been given the chance to work out for teams a few times since. In 2019, he and his former teammate Eric Reid settled a lawsuit against the NFL in which they had accused the league’s teams of colluding against them.
“My brain said to drop a knee; My body didn’t listen, “Kapler wrote of his swirling emotions before this week’s Mets-Giants game. “I wanted to walk back inside; Instead I froze. I felt like a coward. I didn’t want to call attention to myself. I didn’t want to take away the victims or their families. There was a baseball game, a rock band, the lights, the pageantry. I knew that thousands of people were using this game to escape the horrors of the world. I knew that thousands more wouldn’t understand the gesture and would take it as a crime to the military, to the veterans, to themselves. “
Kapler’s action – put off temporarily by a rain delay in Cincinnati – continues a steady stream of protests from the sports world this week. Coach Steve Kerr of the Golden State Warriors spoke forcefully in favor of gun control ahead of his team’s Western Conference Finals game on Tuesday. On Thursday, both the Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays used their Twitter and Instagram feeds to post facts about gun violence rather than posting anything about the rival teams.
“We elect our politicians to represent our interests,” Kapler wrote. “Immediately following this shooting, we were told we needed locked doors and armed teachers. We were given thoughts and prayers. We were told it could have been worse, and we just needed love.
“But we weren’t given a bravery, and we’re not free,” he wrote. “The police put the scene on a mother’s handcuffs as she begged them to go in and save her children. They blocked parents from trying to organize a charge in the shooter, including a father who learned his daughter was murdered while he argued with the cops. We are not 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. “