Zaidi lauds Kapler for conviction, leadership
PHILADELPHIA -- Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi expressed support for manager Gabe Kapler’s decision to sit out the national anthem to protest political inaction on gun control following the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, last week.
“I’m just thankful every day that I get to work with somebody who cares that much,” an emotional Zaidi said on a Zoom call with reporters on Tuesday. “I may not agree with everything he says or does on a personal level -- that may be true of other people -- but his passion, his thoughtfulness and his conviction over the last few days -- those are the same traits that made him the Manager of the Year last year and have made him such an effective leader for our team and our organization.”
Kapler announced Friday that he would remain in the clubhouse for the playing of the “The Star-Spangled Banner” to voice his frustration with the lack of activity from the country’s politicians to curb gun violence, though he returned to the field for the national anthem on Monday in honor of Memorial Day.
Zaidi said the Giants will continue to play the national anthem before home games at Oracle Park, though he made it clear that he fully backs Kapler’s act of protest.
“As an organization, we stand in lockstep with MLB on the importance of that tradition,” Zaidi said. “We obviously played the national anthem before all of our home games and will continue to do so. But our organization has also articulated our stance on this before, that our organization respects the rights and choices of Gabe, and all of our players and coaches and fans, to express themselves and their views peacefully in the way that they see fit.”
Zaidi said the Giants' organization is working with Everytown for Gun Safety, an apolitical organization dedicated to ending gun violence, to continue to raise awareness and try to spur change. Kapler and Marlins manager Don Mattingly are planning to wear special orange T-shirts before Friday’s game at loanDepot park to help spotlight National Gun Violence Awareness Day and Wear Orange Weekend.
“I think anytime you take a position on any matter that you want to be a part of a change on, it’s helpful to have the support of the people around you that you work with every day,” Kapler said. “I obviously work very close with Farhan, as well as the players in our clubhouse and the folks on our staff. I really enjoy working with the people in San Francisco because everybody in our organization, I think, cares about our group, as a team. I certainly feel supported by what Farhan said. It means a lot to me.”
Kapler remained noncommittal when asked if would resume sitting out the national anthem on Tuesday.
“The protest was not about the anthem, and I think I made that clear,” Kapler said. “The landscape is ever-changing. It’s nuanced. These issues are not black and white, and they require, in my opinion, a lot of thought and a lot of action. I don’t know that it makes sense to answer questions on a daily basis about whether or not I come out for the anthem. I think what makes more sense is to recognize that peaceful protest of any kind around very important issues like gun control, and in particular, gun safety, remain very important to me. I’m going to be continuing to express my thoughts on those.”