Kapler spoke with reporters ahead of Friday’s game against the Cincinnati Reds to explain his choice not to participate in the national anthem, a decision he first revealed in a lengthy blog post earlier in the day.
“I don’t plan on coming out for the anthem going forward until I feel better about the direction of our country,” he told reporters. “That’ll be the step. I don’t expect it to move the needle necessarily. It’s just something I feel strongly enough about to take that step.”
Kapler authored a detailed letter posted to his lifestyle website in which he expressed remorse for standing for the anthem during Wednesday’s game against the New York Mets considering the tragic events of the previous day.
“I wish I hadn’t let my discomfort compromise my integrity,” Kapler said. “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.
In the post, “Home of the brave?,” Kapler said his father told him “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. I don’t believe it is representing us well right now.”
Kapler took aim at the “police officers who had weapons and who receive nearly 40% of the city’s funding” and the lawmakers whose response to the shooting was “we needed locked doors and armed teachers.”
“I’m often struck before our games by the lack of delivery of the promise of what our national anthem represents,” Kapler added. “We stand in honor of a country where we elect representatives to serve us, to thoughtfully consider and enact legislation that protects the interests of all the people in this country and to move this country forward towards the vision of the ‘shining city on the hill.’
“But instead, we thoughtlessly link our moment of silence and grief with the equally thoughtless display of celebration for a country that refuses to take up the concept of controlling the sale of weapons used nearly exclusively for the mass slaughter of human beings. We have our moment (over and over), and then we move on without demanding real change from the people we empower to make these changes. We stand, we bow our heads, and the people in power leave on recess, celebrating their own patriotism at every turn.”
Kapler previously protested the national anthem in 2020, when he joined several of his players in taking a knee to protest racial injustice and police brutality.
“I wanted them to know that I wasn’t pleased with the way our country has handled police brutality, and I told them I wanted to amplify their voices and I wanted to amplify the voice of the Black community and marginalized communities as well,” Kapler said at the time.