Opinion: Will Your Favorite Professional Sports Team Celebrate Independence Day? Don’t Bet On It

OPINION | This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.

Get your pencils and scorecards ready. No, baseball isn’t back just yet, but there’s something to certainly keep an eye on in the sports world this weekend.

Saturday is Independence Day, that special time when Americans celebrate the Declaration of Independence. On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress declared that the thirteen American colonies were free of British rule. Basically, it marks the birth of our exceptional country. Certainly, something to commemorate.

Usually, Americans observe Independence Day with fireworks, barbecues, parades, and beach trips. Ball games have often been a big part of the holiday as well. This year, due to the COVID-19 situation, baseball and other sports are still not up and running, but it will surely be interesting to see what professional sports teams do on this July Fourth.

Usually, on Independence Day, pro franchises across the board commemorate the Fourth of July in some fashion. Major League Baseball teams often display huge flags, honor veterans, and wear special red, white, and blue caps. At the very least, teams send out a ‘Happy Independence Day’ message via social media. Will that tradition continue this time around?

Last Columbus Day, way before the Chinese coronavirus outbreak and the aftermath of the George Floyd killing, exactly zero teams in the NBA, NHL, NFL, or MLB recognized the holiday. Last month on Flag Day, only one franchise, the Houston Astros, posted a Flag Day message on Twitter. Not a mention from any other team in baseball, basketball, hockey, or football. Surely, Independence Day will be different, right? It’s the Fourth of July, after all, a day for all Americans to celebrate. Will pro squads commemorate the day in a positive fashion? Don’t bet on it.

While virtually every single franchise has posted their support of Pride Month and Juneteenth, we are living in a day and age where it is far from a sure thing to see a mere mention of Independence Day.

Imagine teams called the Patriots, Nationals, 76ers, and Capitals not acknowledging Independence Day. It could happen.

Some may try to have it both ways. On Flag Day, teams like the Miami Dolphins and San Diego Padres tweeted messages about our military, but conveniently left our flag out of it. There could certainly be a team or two with a creative writing staff that will say something positive about our troops, but omit the words ‘Independence Day’. What’s more likely is a rash of teams pushing a narrative or re-writing what Independence Day is really all about. You can just see Lebron’s Lakers or one of the San Francisco teams tweeting some sort of message pertaining to Black Lives Matter or some other social justice warrior cause, accompanied by a backhanded remark about Independence Day.

We are absolutely living in The Twilight Zone. We are wondering whether American professional sports clubs that make billions of dollars in America from the wallets of Americans will have the guts to simply wish their amazing country a happy birthday and commemorate its independence. But this is reality. The hatred for President Trump from the unhinged among us is the driving catalyst behind all of this. Will franchises actually lose fans and ignore our wonderful country on Independence Day just because of their obsession with one man? We will find out soon.

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So place your bets, ladies and gentlemen. Who will celebrate America on Independence Day? Only one of 123 teams mentioned Flag Day mere weeks ago. If our flag is such a ‘sign of oppression’ to these teams, surely our country as a whole must be a bad thing, too. Keep a close eye on all of these teams come Saturday. Then, act accordingly. If a team can not be for America, how in the world are Americans supposed to be fans of that team?

NBA, NHL, NFL, and MLB…you are all on the clock.

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Follow Kevin Scholla on Twitter @kevinscholla

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