A couple of minutes before Gabe Kapler sat down for his daily Zoom session with reporters, the Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds decided to postpone their game, joining a strike that started earlier in the day with the NBA postponing its entire slate of playoff games to protest the shooting of Jacob Blake by a Wisconsin police officer.
Kapler would not say whether the Giants would take the same approach, but he said players and staffers would take part in meetings before the scheduled 6:45 p.m. game against the Dodgers at Oracle Park to decide if they wanted to play. Kapler said a decision needed to be made collectively. Players and coaches were seen meeting in groups when the Giants took the field for batting practice. Kapler met with president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi, general manager Scott Harris and team leader Tony Watson. The players then left the field during batting practice.
"I don't think my place is to force anyone into doing anything, but rather to share and consistently share what I believe, to have the hard conversations and try to change things where I can," Kapler said.
Kapler opened his media session by speaking for nearly two and a half minutes about his beliefs. Here's his opening statement in its entirety:
"I think I've been pretty consistent. Some things I think are just bigger than sports, and I don't think it should require athletes needing to boycott playoff games to remind us Black lives matter and that police brutality is unacceptable and that systemic racism needs to be eliminated. What I believe in most is speaking out and taking strong action based on your beliefs. I'm aware that the Bucks and now some other NBA teams are doing that, and I have the utmost respect for the players who are refusing to be silent about issues that are bigger than sports. Racism and police brutality are issues that we're not going to be silent about either.
"These conversations are happening in our clubhouse and in our coaches room, and at the same time I believe everyone should choose how and when to express themselves and act. I will encourage all of our players and staff to speak up for what they believe in and continue to participate in these conversations, even when these conversations become difficult. At this point in time, conversations are being had around this topic, and though I'm not going to say anything more on that, I can let you know that we're constantly communicating on that front.
"I think that collective action as a team is different than individual action and requires a different kind of path to achieve, and we're going to keep talking about the issues that we're having in our society. We're going to continue to look for ways to use our platforms individually and as an organization to promote meaningful change and to combat inequality and injustice."
The Giants have been as vocal as any MLB organization about these issues since returning to play in early July. Kapler and several players have been taking a knee throughout the season to protest the killing of George Floyd. Blake was shot multiple times in the back over the weekend in Kenosha, Wisconsin.