Gabe Kapler, Jaylin Davis, Austin Slater among SF Giants to kneel during national anthem

Manager Gabe Kapler, first base coach Antoan Richardson and outfielders Jaylin Davis, Mike Yastrzemski and Austin Slater were among the San Francisco Giants who knelt during the playing of the national anthem ahead of Monday’s exhibition game against the Oakland A’s Monday.

Veteran shortstop Brandon Crawford stood for the anthem, but placed his hands on the shoulders of Davis and Richardson.

Members of the Giants team took a knee on the same Coliseum field where former Oakland A’s catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first MLB player to kneel during the national anthem to protest racial injustice on September 23, 2017.

Kapler had not announced whether he and any coaches or players intended to kneel during the playing of the anthem this season, but he has been outspoken on issues relating to racial justice and has vowed to use his platform as the Giants’ manager to speak out against inequality.

Davis is the Giants’ lone Black player and in June, the rookie outfielder published an essay titled, “The Stories That Are Hardest To Tell,” in which he detailed his experiences with racism in the game of baseball. Davis wrote about being taunted with racial slurs during high school and college games, but also called those stories the easiest to tell.

Davis said the subtle ways he’s dealt with racism in his life have come “from feeling the stares of people at an upscale restaurant. Or trying to calm the pounding in your chest whenever a police car appears in your rear-view mirror.”

Following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May, the Giants held an organization-wide meeting to discuss racial injustice and how the franchise can respond.

“At least for our organization, we need to listen, we need to learn and then take action,” CEO Larry Baer told KNBR following the meeting. “Do some things as an organization that maybe we haven’t done as actively or as proactively as we’ve done in the past. I know that there’s a commitment there. We don’t pretend to have all the answers either. We don’t want to make it sound like we do. If everybody, every company and every individual puts their efforts together, we can get to a better place as a society.”

It is unclear whether Kapler and the players who knelt Monday plan to continue doing so during the regular season.

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Author: Kerry Crowley