SAN DIEGO –Several of Gabe Kapler’s fellow managers offer their support for his decision to avoid the field during the national anthem in protest after the shooting at a school in southwest Texas.

Kapler, manager of the San Francisco Giants, said on Friday he doesn’t plan to be on the pitch for the anthem “until I feel better about the direction of our country. I don’t expect it to necessarily move the needle. It’s just something I feel strong enough to take this step.

A day after Kapler’s comments, no uniformed Giants were on the pitch for the anthem before the team’s 3-2 loss to the Reds.

Nineteen children and two teachers were killed Tuesday at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. The attack happened just 10 days after a racist-hate gunman killed 10 black people at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York.

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Texas Rangers manager Chris Woodward said Kapler’s action was “courageous”.

“I think we’re all frustrated, especially in this country,” Woodward said. “Nobody’s happy. It’s not about which side you’re on. It’s just that we have to improve as a society. … I’m not really going to comment anyway whether or not I would what he did.

Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora said his former teammate Kapler spoke out on a number of topics and “for that, I’m proud of him. He’s a good friend of mine and kind of guy who I respect from afar for what he does, and if that’s what he does, good for him. I understand his reasons. He was very open about it and I know there’s a lot of people who will support him.

New York Mets manager Buck Showalter also said he respects “how Gabe feels and how he handles it.” Asked about Kapler, Philadelphia manager Joe Girardi replied, “It’s Gabe’s decision.”

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Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa said he agreed with Kapler that something had to be done. He just doesn’t think the anthem is the right time to protest.

“I have a lot of respect for him personally,” La Russa said. “I love him. And I think he’s right. But it’s not the flag. And it’s not the anthem.

Washington Nationals manager Dave Martinez said he was rarely on the court for the anthem because of meetings and other pregame preparations.

“If I’m not there, it’s not because I’m boycotting anything,” Martinez said. “But I believe we have to find something that’s better for everyone’s life, because what we have now isn’t working at all.

“Everyone has their opinions and preferences. … Gabe is his own person and Gabe does what he wants to do. I do things differently from Gabe.

Arizona manager Torey Lovullo called Kapler a “humanitarian” and that he was “very supportive of what Gabe is doing.” But Lovullo said he tries “not to get involved in that arena. This is a very, very sad and delicate subject for me.

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Lovullo’s wife and father’s family are from Buffalo.

“So I have a lot of ideas on that, and I will say things have to stop, things have to improve, he said. “I just hope we go in that direction quickly.”

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Kapler “is very passionate about the things he believes in and that’s his way of protesting. … I don’t think any of us are happy with what is happening in our country. I respect people who use every platform they have to solve this problem.

Kapler has protested during the anthem in the past. In July 2020, before the start of the virus-shortened 60-game season, Kapler joined outfielder Jaylin Davis in taking a knee before an exhibition game against the Oakland Athletics. Davis was making a statement about the racial and social issues facing the country.

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AP baseball writer Jake Seiner, AP sportswriters David Brandt and Andrew Seligman, and AP freelance writers Ken Powtak, Michael Wagaman and Harvey Valentine contributed.

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