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Giants share their reasons for kneeling

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Jaylin Davis, Austin Slater, and Gabe Kapler explained why they opted to kneel during the national anthem on Monday.

San Francisco Giants v Oakland Athletics Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The San Francisco Giants beat the Oakland A’s 6-2 on Monday night, in the first exhibition game of the summer. Yet what the Giants did with the bats and baseballs weren’t the most important aspects of the night.

No, that distinction goes to a number of players and coaches taking a knee during the national anthem, and to Alyssa Naken for becoming the first woman to coach on the field in an MLB game.

Prior to the game, the broadcast cameras showed five members of the Giants taking a knee, as a sign of solidarity and protest against police brutality and systemic racism. Those five were outfielders Jaylin Davis, Mike Yastrzemski, and Austin Slater, as well as manager Gabe Kapler and first base coach Antoan Richardson. It was later confirmed that they were joined by pitchers Trevor Gott and Tyler Cyr, catcher Chadwick Tromp, pitching coach Ethan Katz, and co-hitting coach Justin Viele.

After the game, they spoke about the reason behind their respective decisions.

Davis said that he “vowed to use my platform to speak up for what I believe in,” and expressed gratitude that the organization supports that.

Kapler said that he wanted to make sure players felt comfortable expressing themselves and their beliefs, and that he felt compelled to “demonstrate my dissatisfaction with the way we’ve handled racism in our country.”

Slater admitted that it wasn’t until recently that he realized how much privilege and safety were afforded to him simply because of the color of his skin, and said the decision to kneel was because “I strongly believe change needs to happen, and believe this is the proper way to demonstrate my beliefs on the subject.”

President of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi released a statement through the team’s social media, expressing pride in the players, and reaffirming the franchise’s stance on equality, equity, and social justice.

Yastrzemski stated that he “wanted to hold myself, and hopefully others, accountable that something needs to change.”

Shortstop Brandon Crawford stood between Davis and Richardson, with a hand on each person’s shoulder. He followed that with words of support, and noted that he had discussed the anthem with Davis directly.

With another exhibition game, plus 60 regular season games on the schedule, Davis said he wasn’t sure whether or not he would continue to kneel. He did, however, note that this won’t be the last we see from the organization on the matter.

That’s certainly good to hear. Monday’s showing was extremely powerful, and hopefully the organization follows it up with consistent action.