Several professional sports teams ignored Independence Day this year on their Twitter feeds. A day for all Americans was apparently too controversial for these clubs. Some of the franchises that decided to eighty-six the Fourth may surprise you.
After zero MLB, NBA, NFL, or NHL teams recognized Columbus Day 2019 and only one, the Houston Astros, tweeted about Flag Day 2020, all eyes were on the major clubs on July 4th to see if they were just too ‘woke’ to celebrate our nation’s birthday.
Two teams that have bowed to pressure about their nicknames in recent days must have been too busy worrying about their future moniker and just didn’t have time to tweet July Fourth messages. How else could you explain that both the Washington Redskins and Cleveland Indians failed to commemorate Independence Day on Saturday on Twitter? The Tribe did wish a Happy July Fourth on Instagram and Facebook.
The Redskins weren’t the only NFL squad to shun our most patriotic day. The Jacksonville Jaguars also remained silent. No shocker there. The Jags are run by ultra-liberal activists. Instead of an Independence Day wish, the Jaguars tweeted a link to a piece by guard A.J. Cann in which he tells readers that Americans are not equal despite what we are told in the Declaration Of Independence.
The other MLB team to not tweet out Independence Day love is, let’s say, a Bronx bombshell. The New York Yankees did not tweet about Independence Day. The classic American Yanks with their Uncle Sam hat logo, inexplicably just said no to the holiday. On July 4, 1939, Yankees great Lou Gehrig delivered the most famous sports speech known to man. July 4, 2020? The Yankees kept quiet.
Five NBA squads chose to not tweet about Independence Day. One of them was the reigning champion Toronto Raptors. Some may give them a free pass because they are based in Canada, while others would argue they play in an American league with a roster filled with mostly American players and staff.
While Toronto may have some wiggle room, there is no such luxury for the Milwaukee Bucks, Atlanta Hawks, Portland Trail Blazers, or Los Angeles Clippers. All four teams stayed away from the Fourth of July on Twitter. The Clippers mentioned the day on their Facebook account while introducing past on-court highlights.
In the NHL, the Vancouver Canucks did not have anything to say about Independence Day. Again, like the Raptors, they call Canada home, but that didn’t stop other franchises located north of the border to offer their well wishes. Baseball’s Toronto Blue Jays enthusiastically acknowledged the USA holiday. Hockey’s Canadian clubs not named the Canucks, showed great respect for their American friends as well. While the Edmonton Oilers retweeted a tweet from their Texas-born defenseman Caleb Jones in which he declares how proud he is to be an American, the remaining Canada-based teams all tweeted positively about the USA’s special day. The Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens, Winnipeg Jets, and Calgary Flames, all Canadian teams, celebrated Independence Day, while American teams like the Redskins, Jaguars, Yankees, Bucks, Hawks, and Trail Blazers did not. Let that sink in.
Five additional basketball teams and one hockey team mentioned the Fourth of July, but each added some political commentary in their tweet. The NHL’s Los Angeles Kings offered a Happy Fourth tweet but it was accompanied by their demand for people to ‘wear a mask’. The Kings followed that tweet up with multiple tweets featuring Kings personnel wearing masks.
In the NBA, the New York Knicks wished their fans a Happy Fourth, but also let us know that they think you need to wear a mask.
The Sacramento Kings also push a message of mask-wearing along with a call for social distancing. The team mentions that it was in fact, Independence Day, but also takes a shot at our country, tweeting- America still has far to go to ‘achieve real liberty and justice for so many’.
Then there’s the big three. The trio of NBA teams that are led by top Trump haters all did about what you would expect.
The LeBron-led Los Angeles Lakers somehow mustered up the courage to tweet the words ‘Happy July 4th’. That message was not accompanied by a picture of our flag or fireworks, but instead tips on ‘Celebrating During COVID-19’.
Led by Trump hater extraordinaire Gregg Popovich, the San Antonio Spurs tweeted a Happy 4th message with a nice patriotic GIF, but unsurprisingly they couldn’t stop there. The Spurs reminded followers to ‘remember to make your voice heard by voting’. Not a bad message, but so out of place. It’s like tweeting ‘Merry Christmas, eat your vegetables’. We all know what messages of ‘voting’ mean from sources such as these. ‘Vote out Trump’ is the real message.
The Golden State Warriors, coached by another sufferer of Trump Derangement Syndrome, Steve Kerr, also had some curious tweets on Saturday. The hashtag #FourthOfJuly was used, but the team’s tweets focused on voting and the 2020 census. Instead of the Declaration Of Independence or American exceptionalism, the Warriors talked of staying up to date ‘on your upcoming elections’ and also provided their opinion that ‘Latino, Asian-American, Native Hawaiian & Pacific Islanders, and Black communities have been undercounted’. How would we ever function without NBA teams pushing politics during a day when all Americans should celebrate together?
Colin Kaepernick tweeted on Saturday, ‘We reject your celebration of white supremacy & look forward to liberation for all’. Despicable? Yes. But, at least you know where he stands. Sadly, we can’t say the same for the Redskins, Jaguars, Yankees, Bucks, Hawks, or Trail Blazers. Or perhaps, their silence tells us exactly what they think about their American fans and America as a whole.
So, technically we did better. Zero teams tweeted about Columbus Day and just one recognized Flag Day. 112 teams out of 123 did post tweets about Independence Day. At least 106 of those tweets seemed to have no other agenda but American patriotism. While 106 is better than zero or one, shouldn’t all 123 clubs be on the same page when it comes to Independence Day?
This is where we are. Long gone are the days of simple heartfelt tweets celebrating our great holiday, Independence Day. Many Americans yearn for tweets like this one from July 4, 2011: ‘Happy 4th of july everyone I hope everyone has a blessed day’. Typos aside, how could anyone argue with a wonderful sentiment like this one? A positive message for all Americans. The author of that tweet, you ask? Mr. Colin Rand Kaepernick. God bless America.
Follow Kevin Scholla on Twitter @kevinscholla