Giants baseball coach Kapler plans anthem protest over U.S. gun violence

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May 25, 2022; San Francisco, California, USA; San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler in the dugout during the first inning against the New York Mets at Oracle Park. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

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May 27 (Reuters) - San Francisco Giants coach Gabe Kapler said he will not take the field for the pre-game playing of the national anthem to protest U.S. government inaction on gun violence after a school shooting in Texas.

Nineteen children and two teachers were killed at a school in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday by an 18-year-old gunman using an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle he purchased legally.

"We aren't free when politicians decide that the lobbyist and gun industries are more important than our children's freedom to go to school without needing bulletproof backpacks and active shooter drills," Kapler wrote in a blog post on Friday.

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He also criticized the police response to the Texas attack.

The day after the shooting the Giants, like other pro sports teams, held a moment of silence for the victims before the playing of the anthem.

Kapler said he considered dropping to a knee or exiting the field as the music began but instead froze, worried that the gesture would be misinterpreted, a decision he later regretted.

"I wish I hadn't let my discomfort compromise my integrity. I wish that I could have demonstrated what I learned from my dad, that when you're dissatisfied with your country, you let it be known through protest. The home of the brave should encourage this."

The Giants take on the Reds in Cincinnati on Friday.

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Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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