Apparently, standing up for the national anthem and supporting the president of the United States is “backhanded racism.”
That is the case, at least, in the minds of several professional softball players.
On June 22, the players of Scrap Yard Fast Pitch, a professional softball team based out of Conroe, Texas, decided to quit the team because their general manager had published a pro-Trump, pro-national anthem tweet.
…. I AM HURT … I am disgusted … as a BLACK softball player I DO NOT … DO NOT stand with a statement like this… if you didn’t understand racism and what was going on the last month. This .. THIS IS IT. This is EXACTLY what we’ve been trying to change pic.twitter.com/udoeaSJFwp
— Kelsey Stewart (@stewartkels7) June 23, 2020
Scrap Yard Fast Pitch’s official twitter account put out a since-deleted tweet showing a picture of the team standing for the national anthem.
“Hey @realDonaldTrump Pro Fastpitch being played live @usssaspacecoast @USSSAPride Everyone respecting the FLAG!” The tweet read.
Upon reading the tweet, Kelsey Stewart, a member of the team, texted her teammate Kiki Stokes that “I am not going to ever be a part of this organization whatsoever,” as reported by ESPN’s The Undefeated.
Stewart later claimed that the tweet was an example of what she called “backhanded racism.” According to Stewart, proudly proclaiming to the president that your organization respects the flag is tantamount to making what the outlet described as “comments on a Black player’s natural hair, comments related to economic and social class, comments that result in a double take.”
Stokes, who is black, claimed that the tweet left her “feeling like I didn’t matter.”
After the tweet was shared with all other members of the team, they demanded answers from their general manager, Connie May, who had been responsible for publishing pro-anthem message directed at Trump.
May addressed the team and gave her reasons as to why she felt the tweet was necessary. As soon as May said the words “all lives matter,” Stokes had apparently had enough and left the locker room.
Stokes was soon followed by the rest of her team. Every player who was in the locker room decided they would never play for Connie May or Scrap Yard Fast Pitch ever again.
The Undefeated’s story on the team seemed fully in support of their decision. The article was titled “‘We can’t be silent’: Black voices in softball have begun a culture shift in the sport.”
The story described President Donald Trump as someone “who has repeatedly voiced his discontent with players who have kneeled during the anthem and has a history of denouncing athletes who have spoken out or peacefully demonstrated to raise awareness of social injustice and police brutality in the United States.”
In reality, Trump and other critics of anthem-kneeling disagree with the assertion that the United States is inherently, institutionally unequal and that the flag represents oppression.
Instead, many in opposition to kneeling feel that the flag represents the sacrifices many have made to make America the freest country in the history of the world. Standing for the flag represents respect for those sacrifices and unity among all Americans.
The man who started the anthem kneeling movement, Colin Kaepernick, believes the flag stands for “a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” His reasoning for kneeling is that “there are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
The fact of the matter is systemic police racism is a myth. By joining in with Kaepernick and the Black Lives Matter movement, these softball players aren’t being brave civil rights heroes. They’re helping spread a lie that’s destroying the country.
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