Giants manager Gabe Kapler pauses anthem protest for Memorial Day game

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Gabe Kapler put his protest during the national anthem on hold Monday in an effort to honor fallen soldiers on Memorial Day.

The San Francisco Giants manager explained his decision on his blog prior to Monday's game against the Philadelphia Phillies.

"Today, I’ll be standing for the anthem," Kapler wrote. "While I believe strongly in the right to protest and the importance of doing so, I also believe strongly in honoring and mourning our country’s service men and women who fought and died for that right.

"Those who serve in our military, and especially those who have paid the ultimate price for our rights and freedoms, deserve that acknowledgment and respect, and I am honored to stand on the line today to show mine."

Kapler stood in front of the Giants dugout with his hand over his heart during a rendition of "Taps" and "The Star-Spangled Banner" before the first pitch.

Gabe Kapler #19 of the San Francisco Giants stands for the National Anthem prior to a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on May 30, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Kapler has stated that he would not be on the field for the anthem as a protest but made an exception for Memorial day. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Gabe Kapler stands for the National Anthem prior to Monday's Memorial Day game in Philadelphia. (Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Critics of on-field protests during the national anthem have frequently falsely associated them with veterans, active military and fallen soldiers. Colin Kaepernick's decision to kneel that ultimately led to his blackballing from the NFL was in protest of police brutality and racial injustice in the U.S. rather than anything related to military service.

Kapler previously explained that he'd decided to remain in the Giants' clubhouse during the national anthem because of his beliefs on "the direction of the country" in the aftermath of last week's elementary school massacre in Uvalde, Texas that saw a lone gunman kill 19 school children and two adults.

The shooting renewed criticism of government inaction on gun reform while lawmakers accept campaign donations from the National Rifle Association.

“I don’t plan on coming out for the anthem going forward until I feel better about the direction of our country," Kapler said on Friday. "That’ll be the step. I don’t expect it to move the needle necessarily, it’s just something I feel strongly enough about to take that step."

Kapler wrote on Monday that he was making two charitable donations — one to an organization dedicated to ending gun violence and another focused on protecting the health of veterans. He didn't clarify how or if he intends to carry out his protest moving forward.

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