Members of a pro softball team quit this week in Florida after the general manager tweeted a photo to President Donald Trump bragging that the team was standing for the national anthem.
“Everyone respecting the flag!” wrote team executive Connie May in the tweet to the president’s attention Monday night.
Members of the Scrap Yard Dawgs team, which includes 11 athletes chosen for the 2021 U.S. Olympics squad, saw the message after their game in Melbourne. Outraged that May used the moment to embrace Trump’s opposition to athletes kneeling during the anthem as a form of anti-racism protest, they quit.
“We were used as pawns in a political post, and that’s not OK,” two-time Olympic gold medalist pitcher Cat Osterman told The New York Times. Osterman later told the Houston Chronicle she doesn’t accept the general manager’s explanation that the tweet came “from a good place” to illustrate team unity.
Kiki Stokes, one of two Black players on the team, said she felt “betrayed” by the organization. “I am so hurt but Hate and Ignorance will never win,” she tweeted.
“I never really thought that she didn’t care about my life or Kiki’s life until that post,” Black teammate Kelsey Stewart said of the general manager, according to the Times.
Players told the Times that May also repeated the “all lives matter” phrase that some people use to diminish the cause of Black Lives Matter.
The team’s scheduled games in Florida were postponed while players try to reorganize without the Houston-based Scrap Yard Dawgs organization, the Houston Chronicle reported.
The team had intended to play in nearly two-dozen games in Florida as a comeback from the coronavirus pandemic.