While La Russa agrees that “there are a lot of problems in this country that need to be addressed”, he says that Kapler’s position is not “appropriate”.
“What I don’t agree with is that the flag and the anthem are not the right places to try to voice your objection,” La Rossa said before the White Sox game against the Chicago Cubs on Saturday.
“I think you go straight to why it really bothers you about the direction of the country.
“For me, that’s not the flag and the national anthem. I think it makes sense to find out which of those issues and talk about the issues he didn’t like and what he would do about it.”
Kapler said Friday that he will skip the anthem “so I can feel better about our country.”
His comments were accompanied by a written statement on his website sharing his thoughts after the killing of 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Ovaldi, Texas, by an 18-year-old gunman.
In the post, Kapler questioned whether the country’s leadership is committed to representing the best interests of its people and whether the United States truly is “the land of the free and the homeland of the brave.”
La Russa said he respects Kapler both personally and professionally and agrees that “there is a lot of concern” about the United States.
“I will never stand with the national anthem or the flag,” La Rosa said. “Maybe just because I’m older, and because I’ve been around veterans more than the average person.
“You need to understand what the veterans think when they hear the national anthem, or when they see the flag and the cost that their families paid.
“And if I understand that, I think it’s impossible not to salute the flag and listen to the national anthem.”
Clarification: This story has been updated to reference La Rossa’s comments directly.
CNN’s Kevin Dotson contributed to this report.