MLB coach Gabe Kapler slammed by former assistant for perceived anti-military bias

Nick Francona, son of Cleveland manager Terry and currently on the Mets Player development staff, took a sarcastic shot at new Phillies manager Gabe Kapler and the Dodgers organization on Twitter Sunday. Kapler and the Dodgers were investigated by MLB when Francona, an Afghanistan war veteran, claimed he was forced out of the organization because of Kapler's and Dodgers’ perceived anti-military bias.

Retweeting Fox and Friends' tweet on a California teacher caught on tape in a rant against the military, Francona wrote:

"In related news, the teacher who was caught on video calling Marines "the freakin' lowest of the low" is eagerly awaiting his invitation from @gabekapler to throw out the first pitch at a @Phillies game."

It highlights Francona frustration with the investigation.

"It is extremely difficult to reconcile the statements from MLB officials that they care about veterans while they allowed Gabe Kapler to act with impunity," Francona said Sunday. "It is hypocritical that a player can be suspended for making an offensive gesture during the World Series, which was followed by grand proclamations from the Commissioner about how this behavior wasn't acceptable, but when something occurs that is far more deliberate and manipulative, MLB allowed the individuals involved to avoid any consequences whatsoever."

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Gabe Kapler throughout his baseball career
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Gabe Kapler throughout his baseball career
2 Mar 1999: Outfielder Gabe Kapler #23 of the Detroit Tigers poses for a studio portrait on Photo Day during Spring Training at the Joker Merchant Stadium in Lakeland, Florida. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Laforet /Allsport
LAKELAND, UNITED STATES: Detroit Tigers first baseman Tony Clark congratulates Tigers right fielder Gabe Kapler (R) who hit a home run off of Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Pete Schourek during the sixth inning of the spring training game at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, FL, 02 April, 1999. AFP PHOTO Tony RANZE (Photo credit should read TONY RANZE/AFP/Getty Images)
14 Apr 2000: Gabe Kapler #18 of the Texas Rangers looks on the field during batting pratice before the game against the Cleveland Indians at Jacobs Field in Cleveland, Ohio. The Rangers defeated the Indians 7-2.
15 Apr 2000: Gabe Kapler #18 of the Texas Rangers stands ready at bat during the game against the Cleveland Indians at the Jacobs Field in Cleveland, Ohio. The Rangers defeated the Indians 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Harry How /Allsport
DENVER - AUGUST 7: Left fielder Gabe Kapler #19 of the Colorado Rockies stands on the field between innings during the MLB game against the Cincinnati Reds on August 7, 2002 at Coors Field in Denver, Colorado. The Rockies won 7-2. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
BOSTON - AUGUST 30: Red Sox outfielders Gabe Kapler, left, and Johnny Damon chase after a Bernie Williams sacrifice fly ball to center field in the third inning. Kapler collided with Damon after making the catch for the out, but Yankees player Derek Jeter, not pictured, scored after tagging up. The Boston Red Sox hosted the New York Yankees in a game at Fenway Park. (Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
BOSTON - APRIL 11: Gabe Kapler #19 of the Boston Red Sox at bat during the game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park on April 11, 2004 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Red Sox defeated the Blue Jays 6-4. (Photo by Rich Pilling/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - JULY 1: Jorge Posada #20 of the New York Yankees tags out Gabe Kapler #19 of the Boston Red Sox in the 11th inning for a double play to prevent the Boston Red Sox from scoring on July 1, 2004 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York. The Yankees won 5-4 in 13 innings. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Jul 21, 2006; Chicago, IL, USA; Boston Red Sox GABE KAPLER against Chicago White Sox in Chicago at U.S. Cellular Field. The Red Sox won 7-2. (Photo by Matthew Kutz/Sporting News via Getty Images)
MARYVALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 26: Gabe Kapler #33 poses for a photo during the Milwaukee Brewers Spring Training Photo Day at Maryvale Baseball Park on February 26, 2008 in Maryvale, Arizona. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Former Boston Red Sox outfielder Gabe Kapler was introduced as the new manager of the Greenville Drive at Haywood Mall in Greenville. Kapler, 31, retired from the major leagues after the 2006 season and will manage Boston's Class A South Atlantic League affiliate. (Photo by Tom Priddy/Icon SMI/Icon Sport Media via Getty Images)
ST PETERSBURG, FL - MAY 05: Outfielder Gabe Kapler #27 of the Tampa Bay Rays leads off first base against the Baltimore Orioles during the game at Tropicana Field on May 5, 2009 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - JUNE 08: Gabe Kapler #27 of the Tampa Bay Rays rounds the bases after hitting a two run home run against the New York Yankees on June 8, 2009 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
JAYS VS BOSOX---09/12/05---Gabe Kapler just misses a Frank Catalanotto lead off double to deep centre field in the sixth inning as the Toronto Blue Jays play the world series champions Boston Red Sox at the Rogers Centre in Toronto. September 12, 2005. (Photo by Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
SCOTTSDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 26: Gabe Kapler #35 of the Los Angeles Dodgers bats during a spring training game against the San Francisco Giants at Scottsdale Stadium on February 26, 2011 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - DECEMBER 12: Manager Gabe Kapler of the Philadelphia Phillies speaks during media availability at the 2017 Winter Meetings at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin on Tuesday, December 12, 2017 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
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In a letter to MLB back in January 2017, Francona, who worked for Kapler with the Dodgers, charged that he used the stereotypes of veterans with combat experience to create conflict and a hostile work environment. After he notified Kapler that he was going for an appointment at Home Base, which helps war veterans treat the psychological effects combat leaves, Francona said he felt he was being pushed out of his job in player development. Francona charged that Kapler immediately responded to news he would be going to Home Base, a program endorsed by the Red Sox when his father was the manager, by asking if he had "used hard drugs." He also began pressuring Francona to take a leave of absence against his will.

Francona said another issue was the fact that the Dodgers did not take his years of experience in the Marines into account when setting his salary. He had been offered a contract extension just months before, but offered less money than one of his subordinates of the same approximate age. The subordinate had spent more time working in baseball while Francona was in the military, he claimed.

He left his job with Dodgers in March 2016.

Months later, the Dodgers countered to MLB that Francona threatened their personnel. He denied any threat or violence or abusive behavior, but admitted he told Dodgers officials he wanted to expose them for behavior that he said played on a dangerous stereotype of combat veterans being prone to violence.

According to a report, the Dodgers launched their own investigation into Francona's concerns, but he questions the legitimacy of that investigation, saying he was never interviewed for the team inquiry. The Dodgers claimed he was fired because of a "personality conflict," or "philosophical differences," with Kapler. The Dodgers twice offered Francona settlements of $40,000 in June 2016 and $150,000 in November, but he didn't accept either offer. He hasn't taken any legal action against the team.

"I think it is fairly obvious that if these things weren't true I would have just taken the money to be quiet," Francona said. "It certainly hasn't been fun to stand alone against powerful people who have repeatedly demonstrated that they will bend the truth and ignore facts in order to advance their agenda, which in this case is sweeping things under the rug."

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Instead, Francona eventually sent a nine-page letter of complaint to MLB.

The Dodgers and Kapler have said they were cleared in the investigation and MLB considered the matter closed.

"We did complete an investigation," said Pat Courtney, the chief communications officer for Major League Baseball told the Philadelphia Inquirer last year when Kapler was hired. "We can't comment on the results of that investigation, but the Phillies did inquire about the investigation as part of their due diligence."

Francona, however, does not feel his allegations were taken seriously by the Dodgers or MLB. He said he was told the results of the investigation verbally by MLB chief legal officer Dan Halem, but they refused to give him a hard copy of the results.

"It is frustrating to have this notion out there that Gabe Kapler and the Dodgers were 'cleared' in the MLB investigation. The fact that MLB chose to not hold them accountable is an indictment of MLB's values and is an indication of what they are willing to tolerate rather than an indication of the absence of wrongdoing," Francona said.

Proud of his service with the Marines, he sees this as a bigger issue of fighting against stereotypes of military veterans and campaigning for respect for veterans in the baseball community. He said he has tried working with MLB on veterans issues, but has grown frustrated that his complaints about this issue have fallen on deaf ears. He has come to the conclusion that all of baseball would like him to just be quiet and have the issue swept under the rug.

But Kapler's hiring in Philadelphia has made the whole situation more frustrating for Francona and his family. The Francona family is intertwined in baseball and this will not simply disappear even if he is silenced.

Kapler, who cited Francona's father as an influence on his baseball career, approach the Cleveland manager at the Winter Meetings in an attempt to clear the air. The senior Francona, however, made it clear that he did not appreciate what had happened to his son and rebuffed Kapler's attempt to talk, a source who was told of the interaction said.

Francona feels there is injustice in how he was stereotyped as a combat veteran. He is passionate that the Dodgers reaction to his visit to Home Base is exactly the fear that keeps other veterans from seeking help they need. He wants to see more protection for discrimination against veterans and better programs for Baseball to reach out to veterans.

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