‘Not appropriate’: MLB’s Tony LaRusso takes stand over Uvalde anthem protest by fellow manager

Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa won’t be using the national anthem to protest the tragic shooting of 19 children and two teachers in Uvalde, TX, and while he respects San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler, he said using the American flag to voice “objections” is “not appropriate.”

“I think he’s exactly right to be concerned… with what’s happening in our country,” La Russa told ESPN prior to Saturday night’s game against the Cubs. “He’s right there. Where I disagree is the flag and the anthem are not appropriate places to try to voice your objections.”

In the days following Tuesday’s Robb School Elementary slaughter, Kapler wrote that he will no longer be joining players on the field for the national anthem.

In a blog entitled “Home of the Brave?” Kapler said, “When I was the same age as the children in Uvalde, my father taught me to stand for the pledge of allegiance when I believed my country was representing its people well or to protest and stay seated when it wasn’t. I don’t believe it is representing us well right now.”

“Every time I place my hand over my heart and remove my hat, I’m participating in a self-congratulatory glorification of the ONLY country where these mass shootings take place,” Kapler wrote. “On Wednesday, I walked out onto the field, I listened to the announcement as we honored the victims in Uvalde. I bowed my head. I stood for the national anthem. Metallica riffed on City Connect guitars.”

“My brain said drop to a knee; my body didn’t listen,” he continued. “I wanted to walk back inside; instead I froze. I felt like a coward.”

Kapler concluded by encouraging Americans to protest.

“I am not okay with the state of this country,” he wrote. “I wish I hadn’t let my discomfort compromise my integrity. I wish that I could have demonstrated what I learned from my dad, that when you’re dissatisfied with your country, you let it be known through protest. The home of the brave should encourage this.”

While La Russa stressed his respect for Kapler’s motivation, the White Sox manager said that shunning the flag disrespects those men and women who served our country.

“Some of their courage comes from what the flag means to them and when they hear the anthem,” La Russa explained. “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,” he continued, “I think it’s impossible not to salute the flag and listen to the anthem.”

On social media, many agree with La Russa.

“SF Giants manager Gabe Kapler is no longer coming out for the national anthem,” tweeted the Hodgetwins. “You want change; you protest the injustice, not our flag or national anthem. The injustice is the lack of funding, security & awareness at schools.”

“Tony La Russa gets it,” wrote another user. “Gabe Kapler is outta line. My love of the SF Giants is officially over.”

“It pains me, but the old man is correct on this point,” tweeted a third. “A major public sports team manager turning his back on the country’s heritage and sustaining symbol is just wrong. This country couldn’t be more divided and there’s nothing in Kapler’s actions that can be described as helpful.”

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