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MLB Manager Kneels During Anthem, Condemns 'Clear Systemic Racism'

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San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler and one of his players knelt during the national anthem before their 6-2 exhibition victory against the Oakland Athletics.

Kapler shared his plans when he addressed the team earlier Monday, and he said everyone would be supported by the Giants no matter what they decided to do.

“I wanted them to know that I wasn’t pleased with the way our country has handled police brutality, and I told them I wanted to amplify their voices and I wanted to amplify the voice of the black community and marginalized communities as well,” Kapler said.

“So I told them that I wanted to use my platform to demonstrate my dissatisfaction with the way we’ve handled racism in our country. I wanted to demonstrate my dissatisfaction with our clear systemic 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.”

Right fielder Jaylin Davis and first base coach Antoan Richardson also took a knee as shortstop Brandon Crawford stood between them with a hand on each of their shoulders.

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Much discussion went into each person’s choice, and Kapler said some of the Giants reached out to other organizations.

Kapler said the Giants would continue to have such discussions together as a team and “make them a part of the fabric of our clubhouse.”

Monday’s protest was on the same field where former A’s catcher Bruce Maxwell in 2017 became the first major leaguer to kneel for the anthem.

In San Diego, Angels reliever Keynan Middleton kneeled and raised his right fist during the national anthem before the team’s 1-0 victory over the Padres.

Should MLB allow players to kneel during the anthem?

Angels manager Joe Maddon said Middleton told him in advance he wanted to kneel, and the team was “totally supportive” of the decision.

“I’m very proud that he stood up for his beliefs tonight. I really am,” Maddon said. “It’s not easy to do that, a young man like himself, being the only one out here doing that.”

Kapler, beginning his first season managing the Giants after two years guiding the Phillies, didn’t say for certain how often he would kneel except that “we’re going to have 60 chances in the regular season to make the same decision that we made today, to either stand or kneel or do something different. Right now it’s another opportunity tomorrow night.”


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