A civil war in Major League Baseball is brewing as White Sox manager Tony La Russa says he respects Giants manager Gabe Kapler, but calls his anthem protest “inappropriate.”
La Russa couched his comments by saying he understands why Kapler is concerned about events happening in the U.S. The murder of 19 children and two teachers in Texas rattled the nation and launched serious debate on numerous issues.
The veteran manager told reporters “he is right to be concerned.” But then La Russa took his own stand.
In clear terms, he said using the national anthem as a protest vehicle insults the men and women who served and died in the military defending it.
La Russa argues that some of the veterans’ courage comes from the flag’s meaning to them and what they feel when they hear the anthem. He said if you “truly understand” the cost veterans and their families paid, “it’s impossible not to salute the flag and listen to the anthem.”
He adds “the flag and the anthem” are not the correct places to voice disagreements.
The current Chicago White Sox manager and former big leaguer is in his 33rd year and ranks second all-time in major league wins. His teams have three World Series titles.
Kapler announced Friday that he will stay off the field for the pregame national anthem ceremony until he feels “better” about the country’s direction.
In an op-ed, the San Francisco Giants skipper says his father taught him at a young age to stand for the pledge and anthem when he thinks the country is doing its job. But he should stay seated if the country is not properly representing its people.
He further calls the act of standing for the anthem and removing his cap a “self-congratulatory glorification” of the only country that suffers mass shootings.
The day after his announcement, no Giants in uniform were on the field for the anthem. Not one.
In another ominous sign, several fellow managers expressed their support for Kapler’s actions. None, however, announced their intentions to protest in a similar way. La Russa is the only MLB manager to call out the misguided targeting of the flag and anthem for protest.