They damn 2004 teammates at the Boston Red Sox: Kurt Schilling, a bright and daring pitcher, and Gayb Kapler, a traveler who boasts of Charles Atlas’s physique and is never in danger of running away from home.
When Schilling retired, he became an extreme right-wing expert-provocateur, a man who was as committed to owning clothes as he had been to beating the New York Yankees. A supporter of Donald Trump called his candidacy for Congress and his Twitter feed a Fox News-level failure festival that could be predicted after the Uvalde massacre (because if teenagers can’t get AR-15s, it’s clear that America will slide towards autocracy).
Kapler, meanwhile, was hired as manager of the San Francisco Giants in late 2019 after taking a responsible position at the Philadelphia Phillies. Instead of resorting to memes, insults, and arguments after the killing of 19 children and two teachers at Texas Elementary School, he published a 700-word essay on his blog explaining his decision to stop on the field for the national anthem before the game. .
“I am often surprised that before our games there are no promises about what our national anthem represents,” he said. “Every time I put my hand on my heart and take off my hat, I ONLY take part in the self-congratulations of the country where these mass shootings took place.”
The 46-year-old added: “I am not satisfied with the situation in this country … when you are dissatisfied with your country, you express it in protest. The house of the brave should promote it. “
His move hit America’s strongest major sports league and one of its most unconventional personalities in the middle of a race after the Yankees and Tampa Bay Rice used social media channels last Thursday to post facts about gun violence rather than game updates. is a deeply controversial political issue.
Born in Hollywood, Kapler, a piano teacher’s tattooed and bespectacled son, loves Scottish and steak and wears a broken watch, an ESPN profile reported this month. In 2014, she wrote an article on a lifestyle website praising coconut oil as a moisturizer, mouthwash and masturbation. Kapler, a proponent of diversity who hired MLB’s first female coach, has a picture of Martin Luther King on Twitter and posts about balls and strikes, as well as social justice.
Although he spent millions of dollars lobbying in Washington over the years, Major League Baseball has long considered itself superior to guerrilla warfare. “We have always tried to be apolitical,” Commissioner Rob Manfred told reporters at the 2021 World Series.
To the disappointment of some players, baseball was quiet when former San Francisco 49er Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016, bridging the gap between sport and politics and igniting a conservative response to then-presidential candidate Trump’s defender’s objection. against police brutality and racial injustice.
It took time until September 2017 for an MLB player – Bruce Maxwell, later Oakland A holder – to fall to his knees, which proved to be an isolated and isolated move. The climate changed after about three years.
The Jackie Robinson League has been criticized for its slow official reaction to the assassination of George Floyd in 2020, then allowing teams and players to support the Black Lives Matter in uniform and on the pitch. Kapler was the first manager to kneel while singing the anthem, because he “wanted to use my platform to express my dissatisfaction with the way we fight racism in our country.” In August of that year, several games were postponed as a result of a boycott of many sports players after the shooting of a black Jacob Blake from Wisconsin by police.
The rise in players’ voices is particularly noteworthy, as an analysis found that the percentage of African-American players in MLB fell from 19% in 1995 to 7.2% at the beginning of this season. The fan base is whiter and older than the NBA, the league that has been the strongest supporter of social justice.
Again, the 2019-20 Morning Consult fan poll found that the gap between the major leagues’ political affiliations is small, with 38% of MLB viewers known as Democrats and 32% as Republicans – almost the same as the NFL – 42% in the NBA. Democrats and 26% of fans were Republicans.
The MLB has removed last year’s All-Star Game from Atlanta in response to Georgia’s Republican voter harassment law. However, team owners who are older, white billionaires, give more to Republicans than Democrats, according to FiveThirtyEight, and MLB owners are the most generous conservative donors.
Charles Johnson, the 89-year-old billionaire owner of the giants, has donated millions of dollars to Republicans, including far-right individuals such as gunman Lauren Boebert. But as expected, given San Francisco’s culture and history, some of the most influential progressive voices come from the Bay Area.
San Francisco-based Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr backed Capler on Sunday. “I think it’s important for everyone to express their frustration, their disgust, their anger, in whatever way they see fit,” he said.
Kerr, whose father was shot dead in Beirut in 1984, passionately appealed last week to take action against gun violence. “I support everyone’s right to demand the best from their country,” he said.
The reaction of some of Kapler’s fellow managers was competent support, with some telling reporters that they respected his right to protest – while carefully choosing his words to avoid being drawn into a left-right struggle, and not promising to skip the anthem themselves.
This is an openly full-fledged baseball theme, with much of its charm and personality coming from strict adherence to daily rituals and traditions, and a history of hostility toward iconoclasts and heretics, from Jim Bouton to Pete Rose.
Baseball also played an important role in shaping the American national anthem before local sports. After 9/11, MLB teams completed the Star Spangled Banner with another piece of advice to the patriotic union: God Bless America, often played during the seventh shot.
Kapler wrote on his blog on Monday that he would support the anthem to honor military members at the Giants Memorial Day game in Philadelphia.
Calling Kaepernick “disrespectful” and perhaps insincere in 2016, Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa said he had previously agreed with Kapler’s position, but agreed with his method. “I like him. And I think he’s right. But not the flag. And this is not an anthem. ” “You have to understand what veterans think when they hear the anthem or see the flag,” he said. And the expenses they pay and their families. If you really understand this, I think it is impossible not to greet the flag and listen to the anthem. “
Maybe La Russa should have checked Rice’s Twitter feed last Thursday. If protests helped change the status quo, resentments would be a valuable exchange. “Every year, an average of 4,500 veterans commit suicide with firearms – about 12 veterans die every day,” the team said.
Schilling also argued that Kapler’s position was inappropriate. “Gabe is a dear friend, we do not agree on many of our policies, it does not mean that I still do not like him,” he wrote. “But as a team manager, it’s NEVER about you. We are talking about players. Now you force your players to answer questions that have nothing to do with winning the game. “
In other words: do sports. Even in baseball, it’s a completely outdated look now, because Schilling knows its value. Hall of Fame voters did not judge him just for his speeches. His extremism was so repulsed that he was denied a place in Cooperstown. After 107 winning seasons, Kapler was named manager of the year in the 2021 National League.