For the better part of the last two weeks, dozens of protests have taken place everyday across America, as people fight against systemic injustice, institutional racism, and police brutality.
On Sunday, San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler showed his support for the Black Lives Matter movement with an Instagram post of Oracle Park.
Protests and being vocal play a role. It was only after days of protests that former officer Derek Chauvin was arrested and charged with murder for the death of George Floyd. And it was many more days of protests later that the three other officers were charged with aiding and abetting.
But activism has to go further than just protesting, and it certainly has to go further than social media posts. And it would seem that Kapler understands that.
On Monday, the manager posted a lengthy message from his notes app on his Instagram story, addressing what steps he is going to take to further support the Black community and the Black Lives Matter movement.
If you can’t see the picture, here’s his response:
I’ve been asked about action steps I am taking to demonstrate my support for equality beyond posting #BlackLivesMatter.
The number one thing I can do right now is listen carefully to black people. I can hear their stories, their experiences and their pain. I can ask follow up questions. I can use my platform and my voice to amplify theirs. The follow up step is to encourage and have the difficult conversation in the clubhouse. Racism, sexism, homophobia and examples of privilege and inequality are happening all the time in the baseball environments as well as in society. White men are privileged. White men in leadership positions like the one I hold are more so.That means when we see opportunities to push raw, open and sometimes uncomfortable conversations like tho ones black people are suggesting we have about racism and police brutality, we have to be the ones who open those up and give them larger platforms.
Beyond that, I’m actively seeking out black owned businesses to patronize wherever I am in the world. I do the same for businesses owned by women. I’ll speak to my sons about this and challenge them as they challenge me to do better in this regard. Their generation will do better than mine. I will support leaders who embody these values and who are willing to address these issues. I will vote for people who will represent these ideals in our governments, both at the local and federal levels. I donate to causes that work to support equality and justice. I seek out diversity when I have the opportunity to hire people. And I recognize that these efforts are constant, continuing and must be lived every day and need amplification snow more than ever.
Finally, I know I don’t have the answers. I’m listening, I’m learning, and I’m hearing ideas from others who know much more than me on the right steps to take.
While we shouldn’t be judging people’s statements relative to their industry, it is worth noting that this is certainly one of, if not the strongest statement that has been issued by a white person in an MLB leadership position.
To quote the popular sentiment that’s been flying around this week, it’s not enough to merely be not racist; you have to be actively anti-racist. It would seem, from this statement, that Kapler is committed to doing that by seeking out, listening to, and amplifying the voices in the Black community.
What’s important is that this energy and attitude is maintained in the following weeks, months, and years, and not just revisited when a heartbreaking story like George Floyd’s or Breonna Taylor’s goes viral. Hopefully Kapler can work with the Giants to help other players be stronger allies, and help the organization be one that does more for the Black community.
If you want to join Kapler in supporting Black-owned businesses, click here to find a curated list of Black-owned restaurants in your city. Hunter Pence also has some advice if you want to support Black-owned businesses while getting caffeinated: