Giants manager Bob Melvin requires team to stand for national anthem

Manager Bob Melvin #6 of the San Francisco Giants watches a bullpen session during the San Francisco Giants Spring Training workout at Scottsdale Stadium on February 22, 2024 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Andy Kuno/San Francisco Giants/Getty Imag (Getty Images)

San Francisco Giants manager, Bob Melvin, has implemented a new mandate requiring the entire team to stand for the national anthem. 

The new policy applies not only to the players, but to every person in the Giants’ dugout-- from the coaches to the trainers and even to the bat boys. 

Melvin’s new rule marked a notable departure from the actions of the team’s former skipper, Gabe Kapler, who chose not to take the field during the anthem as a political protest against the country's gun laws following the mass school shooting in Uvalde, Texas in 2022. 

In 2020, in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd, Kapler demonstrated his support for the Black Lives Matter movement and knelt for the "Star Spangled Banner."  

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Melvin insists that his rule has nothing to do with politics. Rather, he said, it stemmed from the messaging he wanted to convey about the team’s mindset ahead of a game. 

"It’s all about the perception that we’re out there ready to play," the Giants manager said in an interview with The Athletic, adding, "You want your team ready to play, and I want the other team to notice it, too. It’s really as simple as that."

The three-time manager of the year and Bay Area native said this has been a long-standing policy of his, which he implemented while managing the Oakland A’s and the San Diego Padres. And he added that the new policy was not an indictment on how others approached the anthem. 

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"It has nothing to do with whatever happened in the past or whatever," Melvin told USA Today on Friday, adding, "It’s just something I embrace." 

The manager said that the team also appeared to be embracing the new rule. 

Giants outfielder Austin Slater expressed his support for Melvin's policy, telling The Athletic that it demonstrated the unity of the team. 

Slater, who was among those who joined Kapler in 2020 in taking a knee for the anthem, said, "I think it sets the example of hey, we’re in this together." 

When pressed on whether the new rule could conflict with a player who feels he does not want to stand for the national anthem for political reasons, Slater noted that had not yet been addressed, but he reflected, "I think you’d still have the right to do that. But that’s not what this is about. It’s more about being ready to play every game."