Tony La Russa questions the sincerity of Colin Kaepernick's national anthem protest
Former MLB manager Tony La Russa weighed in on Colin Kaepernick's national anthem protest in an interview with SI Now's Maggie Gray on Wednesday, calling it disrespectful and questioning whether Kaepernick is protesting just to draw attention to himself.
Gray asked La Russa how he would handle a player taking a knee during the anthem, as Kaepernick has done before games this year, if he were still a manager of an MLB team. Orioles outfielder Adam Jones recently expressed his disappointment in MLB's failure to join in the protest that is sweeping the NFL, calling baseball "a white man's sport."
"I know that there's a constitutional right to express yourself, but I think you have a right as an organization to have a certain philosophy about respecting, whether it's our Constitution, whether it's our country, whether its our soldiers...our flag," La Russa said. "I would not, to the best of my ability, I would not sanction somebody taking a knee.
"I think that's disrespectful, and I really question the sincerity of somebody like Kaepernick. I remember when he was on top. I never heard him talk about anything but himself. Now all of a sudden he's struggling for attention and he makes this big pitch. I don't buy it. And even if he was sincere, there are other ways to show your concern. Disrespecting our flag is not the way to do it."
Kaepernick lost his starting job to Blaine Gabbert last season after starting every game of the previous two seasons for the 49ers. Gabbert is listed as the 49ers starter this season as well, leading San Francisco to a 28–0 win over the Los Angeles Rams on Monday.
Kaepernick has said he is using the protest to take a stand against racial inequalities and oppression in the United States. He has pledged to donate the proceeds of his jersey sales this season to communities, in addition to donating the first $1 million he earns this year to organizations that help local communities.
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- Erin Flynn