San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler is very upset about the direction of our country after the latest mass shooting ... and now he's protesting the national anthem.
Gabe says he's breaking from baseball tradition and plans to no longer join players and coaches on the field before games for the playing of the national anthem.
The Giants manager told reporters Friday in Cincinnati before his club played the Reds, "I don’t plan on coming out for the anthem going forward until I feel better about the direction of our country."
In a post on his personal blog earlier Friday, Gabe reflected on the Uvalde school shooting and the response across the sporting world.
Gabe wrote ... "The day 19 children and 2 teachers were murdered, we held a moment of silence at sporting events around the country, then we played the national anthem, and we went on with our lives."
The all-too-familiar response is not sitting well with GK, who adds ... "We didn’t stop to reflect on whether we are actually free and brave after this horrific event, we just stood at attention."
Gabe says his father taught him a lesson early on in life, and he's applying it to his anthem protest.
"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 writes. "I don't believe it is representing us well right now."
Gabe says he tried to protest the anthem earlier this week, but it didn't materialize.
"My brain said drop to a knee; my body didn’t listen," he wrote. "I wanted to walk back inside; instead I froze. I felt like a coward. I didn’t want to call attention to myself. I didn’t want to take away from the victims or their families. There was a baseball game, a rock band, the lights, the pageantry. I knew that thousands of people were using this game to escape the horrors of the world for just a little bit. I knew that thousands more wouldn’t understand the gesture and would take it as an offense to the military, to veterans, to themselves."
Gabe says after a few days of reflection, he decided on his anthem protest.
Bottom line for Kapler ... "I am not okay with the state of this country ... The home of the brave should encourage this."