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Former Phillies manager Gabe Kapler kneels with players during national anthem


Gabe Kapler became the first MLB manager to protest alongside his players by taking a knee. (Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

Before an exhibition game in Oakland on Monday, former Phillies manager Gabe Kapler took a knee during the national anthem. Kapler, 44, joined Giants outfielder Jaylin Davis and first-base coach Antoan Richardson, who are both Black. Shortstop Brandon Crawford put his arms on the shoulders of both Davis and Richardson. Austin Slater and Mike Yastrzemski also knelt.

The former Phillies boss became the first MLB manager to kneel during the anthem in protest of racial inequality and police brutality. Both the Giants and MLB’s social media accounts tweeted in support of the protest:

After the game, Kapler explained how he went about telling his players about his plan to protest and why he did it to the San Francisco media, including Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area:

“I wanted to share what my plans were and I did that because I wanted them to know that I wasn’t pleased with the way our country has handled police brutality. I told them that I wanted to amplify their voices and I wanted to amplify the voice of the black community and marginalized communities as well. I told them that I wanted to use my platform to demonstrate my dissatisfaction with the way we’ve handled 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 kinds of discussions for the last several days and will continue to have them.”

In June, Davis, penned a powerful blog post on the Black Lives Matter movement and how he and his teammates have experienced racism throughout their baseball careers:

“The constant anxiety, isolation and degradation of racism are like molecules of carbon monoxide in the air. They’re invisible to the naked eye but as poisonous as the brutality caught on camera and posted on Instagram.”

Jaylin Davis’ The Stories That Are Hardest to Tell – June 20 2020

Giants president Farhan Zaidi expressed his support for the protest to the Athletic:

We’re proud of our players and staff for continuing to participate in the national conversation about racial injustice. We support those who knelt to peacefully protest racial injustice and those who stood to express love of country. We do not see these as mutually exclusive sentiments and believe the freedom to express both is what our country is about. As an organization we reaffirm our denouncement of acts of discrimination and violence against members of the black community and our pledge to work together with those who seek to end racial justice in America.

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