Editor’s note: This story contains details of a mass casualty event and gun violence.
White Sox manager Tony La Russa weighed in Saturday on Gabe Kapler’s decision to not participate in the national anthem in response to a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas earlier this week.
The Giants manager announced Friday in the aftermath of Tuesday’s tragedy that he will no longer take the field for the national anthem prior to San Francisco’s home games until “[he] feels better about the direction of the country.” Kapler also penned an essay titled “Home of the Brave?” in which he expressed his concern for the state of the country.
Kapler’s stance on the anthem compelled La Russa to question the validity of his protest. The longtime manager told reporters he agrees with Kapler’s concerns, but was quick to note he did not completely support his approach.
“I think he’s exactly right to be concerned … with what’s happening in our country,” La Russa said Saturday, per ESPN. “He’s right there. Where I disagree is the flag and the anthem are not appropriate places to try to voice your objections.”
La Russa went on to say that while he respects the intentions behind Kapler’s protest, he believes his form of protesting is ultimately disrespectful to servicemen and women.
“Some of their courage comes from what the flag means to them and when they hear the anthem,” he said. “You need to understand what the veterans think when they hear the anthem or see the flag. And the cost they paid and their families. And if you truly understand that, I think it’s impossible not to salute the flag and listen to the anthem.”
Kapler’s message was one of many from the sports world in the wake of Tuesday’s shooting, which claimed the lives of 19 children and two adults.
Lakers star LeBron James, Warriors coach Steve Kerr, the Yankees and Rays Twitter accounts and the Sun’s and Mystics’ Twitter accounts offered comments addressing gun violence and the need for change following the latest act of senseless violence.
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