New Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa said Thursday that he is now “all for” players kneeling during the national anthem after previously questioning Colin Kaepernick’s sincerity regarding the protest in 2016.
La Russa’s previous comments resurfaced on social media Thursday following the White Sox’s announcement that they were hiring the 76-year-old to manage the club. Critics ripped the hire as out of touch, in part, because of La Russa’s attitude toward kneeling.
Four years ago, La Russa said his kneeling during the playing of the “Star-Spangled Banner” was disrespectful to the flag, adding Kaepernick was “struggling for attention and he makes this big pitch.” He also took issue with then-Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones calling baseball a “White man’s sport” — telling ESPN that Jones was wrong. “When he says it’s a White, like elitist, kind of sport, I mean how much wronger can he be?” La Russa said.
But during his introductory press conference Thursday, La Russa said his views on protesting have evolved.
“There’s been a lot that’s gone on, in a very healthy way, since 2016,” La Russa said. “Not only do I respect, but I applaud the awareness that’s come in to not just society, but especially in sports. If you talk about specifically baseball, I applaud and would support the fact that they are now addressing, identifying the injustices, especially on the racial side.
“As long as it’s peacefully protested and sincere … When your protests actually have action-oriented results, the way that you’re going to impact to make things better, I’m all for it.”
White Sox Talk (@NBCSWhiteSox) October 29, 2020
La Russa has not managed in MLB team since 2011, when he won the World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals. This will be his second stint as manager of the White Sox. The club previously fired him in 1986.
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