'I would never not stand up': Baseball legend criticizes San Francisco manger's anthem protest

Tony La Russa said he respects Kapler and agrees with his sentiments, but he pointed out how veterans may feel about protesting patriotic symbols.

Updated: May 30, 2022 - 9:18am

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Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa criticized San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler's national anthem boycott protesting the mass shooting that killed 21 people, including 19 children, in Uvalde, Texas. 

La Russa said before Saturday's White Sox game against the Chicago Cubs that while he agrees "there's a lot of problems in this country that need to be addressed," he does not support Kapler's protest. 

"Where I disagree is that the flag and the anthem are not appropriate places to try to voice your objection," La Russa said, CNN reported.

"I think you go directly to what the cause that really bothers you about the direction of the country is," La Russa explained. "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 said on Friday that he plans on skipping the anthem until he feels "better about the direction of our country."

He wrote on his website that he feels the United States didn't show bravery and freedom during the Uvalde shooting.  

"I'm often struck before our games by the lack of delivery of the promise of what our national anthem represents," he wrote.

La Russa stressed that he respects Kapler and agrees with his sentiments, but he pointed out how veterans feel about protesting patriotic symbols.

"I would never not stand up for the anthem or the flag," La Russa noted. "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," he said. "And if you understand that, I think it's impossible not to salute the flag and listen to the anthem."