Many Giants continue to kneel during anthem on Opening Night, team wears ‘Black Lives Matter’ shirts pregame

LOS ANGELES — Giants players and coaches who began taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem before exhibition games this week continued their protests on Opening Night at Dodger Stadium.

Giants manager Gabe Kapler posted an essay on his Twitter account Thursday detailing why he’s taking a knee during the anthem, explaining his dissatisfaction with injustices in the United States.

“Kneeling is and has always been a gesture of respect and one of mourning. I respect our flag, our principles and our country, but I am also embarrassed, sad and angry that we do not provide for and protect everyone equally,” Kapler wrote.

Members of the Giants who knelt during the playing of the anthem Thursday included Kapler, coaches Antoan Richardson and Justin Viele as well as Mike Yastrzemski, Austin Slater, Hunter Pence, Jaylin Davis, Pablo Sandoval, Trevor Gott and Wandy Peralta.

Every member of the Giants’ roster and coaching staff who took the field during pregame warmups Thursday donned a black T-shirt with white block letters that said “Black Lives Matter.”

The Giants and Dodgers also participated in a pregame moment of silence in which players and coaches from both teams formed a line, took a knee and held a black ribbon. Giants reliever Sam Coonrod was the only player on either team to remain standing during the moment of silence.

Kapler said earlier this week that collaborative discussions surrounding the national anthem and potential protests helped the Giants become more unified ahead of their first exhibition game in Oakland on Monday, but the Giants’ first-year manager expressed disappointment in his Twitter post that some of the public reactions to protests during the national anthem have been inappropriate and negative.

“Many others used bigoted language, racist, sexist, or homophobic insults or resorted to graphic threats,” Kapler wrote. “But I am struck by the reaction. Black Lives Matter is a movement and a statement that should be a unifying belief. ‘And justice for all’ should be a unifying belief.”

Several Giants players offered explanations for their decisions to take a knee this week including outfielder Jaylin Davis, the only Black player on the team’s 30-man Opening Night roster.

“We talked about at the beginning of camp, before we even started camp, that we wanted to make it known that we weren’t going to let everything just be pushed aside because baseball was back,” Davis told reporters Tuesday.

Giants first base coach Antoan Richardson, who drops to two knees and bows his head in prayer during the national anthem, told this news organization why he began kneeling this week.

“The question I asked myself actually is why do I stand for the national anthem?” Richardson said. “That’s just a question I never asked myself. I’ve just done it because that’s how I’ve been told, but I’ve never really asked myself that question. I love to challenge myself on what I know.”

After standing for the national anthem on Monday in Oakland, Giants players Pablo Sandoval and Mauricio Dubón were among the roughly dozen players to take a knee on Tuesday ahead of an exhibition against the A’s at Oracle Park.

Outfielders Austin Slater and Mike Yastrzemski have both knelt during the anthem since Monday and Yastrzemski explained his decision on Instagram this week.

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