Gabe Kapler was a Major League Baseball player from 1998-2010. During that 13-year career, he played for the Detroit Tigers, Texas Rangers, Colorado Rockies, Boston Red Sox, Milwaukee Brewers, and Tampa Bay Rays. In 2008, with the Brewers, he hit .301/.340/.498 with eight home runs and 38 RBI. After his playing days were over, he became a coach and manager. He managed the Philadelphia Phillies from 2018-2019, and is now the reigning NL Manager of the Year as the leader of the San Francisco Giants. Recently, Kapler made a strong stance against the gun violence in America and the inaction of the country’s leaders to combat it.
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— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) May 27, 2022
This is not an uncommon form of protest. Amid the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020, many teams all over sports refused to come on the field for the National Anthem. Some teams, including the Milwaukee Bucks, boycott entire games as a form of protest.
A Brief History of the National Anthem and Major League Baseball
The National Anthem and the respect it demands have been a source of contention in a divisive America for some time. Today, it has become so ingrained in our minds that it is part of sports that we forget that it was not always played prior to games. When it was, players were not always brought out on the field to listen to it, either. For example, the NFL started to play the National Anthem before games during World War II as a sign of patriotism. However, players were not brought out on the field to observe it until 2009. That was when the Department of Defense paid the NFL millions of dollars to make the players take the field for the Anthem.
In Major League Baseball, the history goes back a little bit farther. The first recorded instance of the song being played at a baseball game occurred all the way back in 1862. According to research, it was played before some baseball games as early as the 1890’s. To be clear, “The Star Spangled Banner” was not the National Anthem at the time; that did not become official until 1931.
After World War II, Major League Baseball, and other sports associations, continued to play the National Anthem as a sign of patriotism.
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