Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa says he respects San Francisco manager Gabe Kapler, but disagrees with form or protest

May 28, 2022, 6:49 PM

CHICAGO -- White Sox manager Tony La Russa says he both likes and respects San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler, but disagrees with his form of protest as it relates to the latest mass shooting. 

Kapler wrote this week he'll remain inside the Giants' clubhouse while the national anthem is being played before games. La Russa believes in the cause just not Kapler's actions.

"I think he's exactly right to be concerned...with what's happening in our country," La Russa said before his team hosted the Cubs on Saturday night. "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 wake of the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, Kapler penned an article explaining why he can no longer stand outside while the anthem is being played, writing he's "not okay with the state of this country."

"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," Kapler wrote. "I don't believe it is representing us well right now."

La Russa reiterated his respect for Kapler's intentions but thinks his form of protesting is disrespectful to servicemen and women.

"Some of their courage comes from what the flag means to them and when they hear the anthem," La Russa stated. "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, I think it's impossible not to salute the flag and listen to the anthem."

La Russa and general manager Rick Hahn didn't know of any players or coaches on their team that planned a similar kind of protest. Neither did Cubs manager David Ross.

"Everybody's stance on things is individualized," Ross said. "I think everybody does what they feel is right in their heart so I respect that. I respect Gabe.

"I don't have any answers but something has to change. I don't know what that is. I'm not a lawmaker."

When asked, Ross agreed that sports can be a good platform for activism.

"I love what (Golden State Warriors coach) Steve Kerr said," Ross stated. "(Dodgers manager) Dave Roberts had some choice words that he said the other day. I couldn't agree with those people more. Something has to change. We have to be better."

In talking to reporters, La Russa stressed his respect for Kapler as a person, former player and manager. But also reiterated his form of protest was wrong. "It's not the flag," La Russa said. "And it's not the anthem."