The San Francisco Giants manager and several coaches and team members took a knee during the national anthem ahead of their first exhibition game in the Bay Area on Monday night.
Manager Gabe Kapler and members of the coaching staff joined players Mike Yastrzemski, Austin Slater and Jaylin Davis and coaches Antoan Richardson and Justin Viele in taking a knee, according to NBC Bay Area. Shortstop Brandon Crawford stood between Richardson and Davis, both black, and placed his hands on their shoulders in apparent support.
The Giants did not announce until the game against the Oakland A’s at Oakland Coliseum that some members were kneeling, but Kapler, who was hired in November, said he informed the team of his plans.
“I wanted to share my plans and I did it because I wanted them to know that I was not happy with the way our country has handled police brutality. 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, according to NBC Sports.
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He said the decision was the result of weeks of conversations with community organizations and also with the team.
“I told them that I wanted to use my platform to demonstrate my dissatisfaction with the way we have handled racism in our country. I wanted to show my displeasure with our clear systemic racism in our country, ”Kapler said. “And I wanted them to know that they had to make their own decisions and that we would respect and support those decisions. I wanted them to feel safe speaking out, so we’ve had these kinds of discussions over the last few days and we’ll continue. for the knowledge. ”
When asked if he and other giants would continue to kneel down, Kapler said, “We will have 60 chances in the regular season to make the same decision we made today, to get up or kneel or do something different. “
In a statement, Farhan Zaidi, president of baseball operations for the San Francisco Giants, said the team was “proud of our players and staff for continuing to be part of the national conversation on racial injustice.” .
“We support those who knelt peacefully to protest racial injustice and those who stood up to express love for the country. We do not see this as mutually exclusive feelings and believe that our country is free to express both, ”the statement said. “As an organization, we reaffirm our exposure to acts of discrimination and violence against members of the black community and our commitment to work with those who seek to end racial justice in America. “
MLB shared a video of the kneeling moment on Twitter and defended those who knelt against the critics. “Supporting human rights is not political,” MLB replied to a disgruntled fan. To another complaining that kneeling during the anthem did not respect the army and the flag, the league said, “It was never about the army or the flag. Players and coaches use their platforms to protest peacefully. “
On the same court in 2017, Oakland A’s wide receiver Bruce Maxwell was the first MLB player to hit a knee. Although his team expressed support at the time, Maxwell told NBC Sports that the Giants’ gesture on Monday received a much more positive response.
“It’s definitely night and day,” Maxwell said of the different reactions. “It’s a different experience, a different response to this time and the age of 2017, extremely. But it’s good to see, ”Maxwell said after the Giants beat the As in Monday’s game.
“I felt joy, honestly,” said Maxwell. “It was probably my main emotion. Feel the joy that the message and purpose of kneeling is spreading in our sport. “
Meanwhile, Los Angeles Angels reliever Keynan Middleton also knelt and raised a fist during the national anthem on Monday before an Angels game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park, NBC Sports reported.