Warriors

Warriors

Gabe Kapler became the first MLB manager to take a knee during the national anthem Monday when the Giants skipper knelt to protest racial injustice and police brutality prior to San Francisco's exhibition game against the A's.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr, who has been an ally of the Black Lives Matter movement and a vocal proponent of social justice causes, was happy with the action his new Bay Area colleague took.

"I was thrilled to see him do it," Kerr told NBC Sports Bay Area's Monte Poole via text.

Kerr has not had the chance to meet Kapler yet, but he has exchanged texts with the Giants manager and hopes to meet him soon.

[RACE IN AMERICA: Listen to the latest episode]

As a successful White man with a platform, Kerr understands how important it is for him to speak out and be an ally as the country pushes toward meaningful change.

"I think that that's our job, really, is to make sure that it's not just a press conference and a Zoom call, and then back to normal business," Kerr said on NBC Sports Bay Area's "Race In America: A Candid Conversation." "I think what David (West) was talking about earlier (on the panel) was working with the grassroots organizations. I think being committed -- if you're a corporation, taking on that commitment of building a relationship with these grassroots organizations.

 

"Not just, 'Hey, here's a check for [$5,000], we're proud of you.' Build a relationship with the grassroots organizations, build a relationship with city government and continue this work. That's the whole key, and that's what I'm going to try to do. That's what the (NBA) coaches association is doing. We're trying to build lasting relationships so that the work can continue, even beyond the emotion of the aftermath of something like this."

Kerr is a member of the NBA coaches committee for racial justice. He told NBC Sports Bay Area that the committee has batted around a number of ideas when it comes to a form of protest, but doesn't have anything concrete at the moment.

For Kapler, his decision to kneel was an easy one. He told his players what he planned to do, and that none of them would be judged for how they handled the situation.

"I wanted to share what my plans were and I did that because I wanted them to know that I wasn't pleased with the way our country has handled police brutality. I told them that I wanted to amplify their voices and I wanted to amplify the voice of the Black community and marginalized communities as well," Kapler said. "I told them that I wanted to use my platform to demonstrate my dissatisfaction with the way we've handled racism in our country. I wanted to demonstrate my dissatisfaction with our clear systemic racism in our country.

"And I wanted them to know that they got to make their own decisions and we would respect and support those decisions. I wanted them to feel safe in speaking up, and so we had these kinds of discussions for the last several days and will continue to have them."

President Donald Trump angrily tweeted about Kapler and the Giants players who knelt, but the Giants manager won't be bullied away from fighting racial injustice.

[RELATED: Kapler responds to Trump's tweet about kneeling]

Kerr and the Warriors are not in Orlando for the NBA restart. It's unclear if any players or coaches will take a knee once the games begin. The Athletic's Sam Amick reported Wednesday that the NBA would not discipline players or coaches who choose not to stand during the anthem.

Kapler, along with Pablo Sandoval, Hunter Pence and other Giants players took a knee once again Tuesday prior to their exhibition game against the A's. Kerr and the Warriors won't return to the court until December, meaning they'll have some time to decide how they want to address the racial injustices and social issues facing the country.