White Sox manager Tony La Russa criticized his colleague, San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler, for his decision to boycott the national anthem in the wake of the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, last week.
La Russa, while saying he agrees with Kapler’s stance on gun violence, stated that protesting the flag and anthem is not “appropriate.”
Before playing against the Chicago Cubs on Saturday, La Russa said, “[W]here I disagree is that the flag and the anthem are not appropriate places to try to voice your objection. I think you go directly to what the cause that really bothers you about the direction of the country is. So to me, it isn’t the flag and the anthem. I think it makes more sense to figure out which of those issues and speak about the ones he didn’t like and what he will do about it.”
Kapler wrote in a blog post Friday that he will boycott the anthem until “I feel better about the direction of our country.”
“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. 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. don’t believe it is representing us well right now,” Kapler wrote.
However, La Russa argued that standing for the flag and anthem symbolizes gratitude for others who had sacrificed for him under that flag.
“I would never not stand up for the anthem or the flag. Maybe just because I’m older, and I’ve been around veterans more than the average person. You need to understand what the veterans think when they hear the anthem, or they see the flag and the cost they paid and their families paid. And if you understand that, I think it’s impossible not to salute the flag and listen to the anthem,” La Russa said.