In Which Our Columnist Laments the Team’s Un-Teamlike Visit to the White House
I must say that for a Red Sox fan this week has been upsetting.
The Red Sox were invited to a White House greeting with Trump — albeit that the clueless hosts welcomed “Red Socks,” displaying a trademark distance from reality. The idea was to salute the winners of last fall’s World Series. I looked away, unable to celebrate.
Mostly white players went to the White House ceremony, and players of color did not, protesting a variety of over-the-top Trump behaviors.
What upset me, of course, was that team cohesion is such that mostly white players went to the White House ceremony while players of color did not, protesting a variety of over-the-top Trump behaviors. Topping the protest list were the concerns of Manager Alex Cora, a native Puerto Rican, who feels stung by Trump’s back-of-the-hand treatment of the island in its struggles to rebound from hurricanes.
Once Cora came out with his concerns, the Red Sox I imagine, the team I hope I care about, would have banded together and acted as a group. If the owners needed to go pay homage to the White House, well, so be it. The team I care about would consider that if one person in the group had felt attacked, hurt, omitted or otherwise abused, the rest would stand by him — particularly if it were the manager.
The players should have stood together — that’s the point of being a team and not a bunch of individuals wearing the same laundry.
In fact, along with J.D. Martinez, Chris Sale and Andrew Benintendi, many of those attending were staffers of the organization.
Indeed, I could easily argue that the picture of a mostly white team being celebrated at the White House rather than the diverse group that takes the field is a reflection of what Trump has wrought in challenging American values, in finding good people in both dugouts, even if one dugout represents neo-Nazis, and allowing the rise of hate crimes.
It’s a nice thought to believe that sports can be separated from politics and American Life, but the reality is that this president leans in politically whenever he feels it can be useful to him. So, he criticizes and bars players who kneel in protest of too many police shootings of unarmed black men, he belittles champions who criticize his public life, he uses the events for political ends. So, if politics in sports is fair, so is protest.
Now put it aside, please, and play ball, and do better than the middling results we’ve seen so far this year.
Featured image: CNN