“It’s huge. Especially any time you’re not able to see your family, it’s unfortunate.” -Dexter Fowler, Newly Acquired St Louis Cardinals

At 2:27 p.m. Saturday, a Facebook page called St. Louis Cardinals True Fans linked to a story with an attention-grabbing headline: “Cardinals Outfielder Expresses Discontent With President Trump.” Within two minutes, the first comment appeared underneath the post.

“Keep your mi d (sic) on baseball…”

Three more streamed in succession.

“Nobody cares” 

“Exactly! We don’t care why (sic) your political views are!”

“Shut up and play”

Then came the fifth comment, which asked an important question

“Did any of you actually read what he said?”

Dexter Fowler, the marquee acquisition of the St. Louis Cardinals’ offseason, a center fielder to whom they guaranteed $82.5 million, neither had mentioned the president by name nor criticized his policies. Over the next 24 hours, True Fans commenters proved that mattered none. An ugly, sometimes-racist, often-ignorant torrent of judgment spewed from some of the 100,000-plus fans who populate the page. This was America in 2017 foisting itself on America’s pastime.

This isn’t the first time “Cardinal Fans” have lashed out against an African American Player.  When Jason Heyward left for greener pastures to the much hated Cubs was called “nigger” several times during the game and these taunts were even caught on air during the telecast.  Just a friendly reminder… this happened in 2016 to Jason Heyward rely similar to Jackie Robinson in 1947.  Guess we haven’t come to far.

The post illustrated the hazards in an athlete speaking out on any politically charged matter, even if his words were essentially apolitical. The blowback can be disproportionate. The fear of harsh and loud criticism can silence those considering whether to use their platform.

This is the story of one man, one organization and one fan base told through social media comments. It’s also the unfortunate story of America in 2017.

“Shut up and just do your job. No one cares what you think.”

-Pattie Redenbaugh Tierney

“Trade his black ass!”

-Anne Burke

“Erin McCarley you are wrong. He signed a contract with the Cardinals so that makes him property of stl cardinals and mlb so he needs to keep his mouth shut. His personal opinion, problems, beliefs and political views should be kept to himself as long as he’s under a mlb contract and before anymore b.s. is said I’ve read the article and it’s not our fault he married someone from another country. Trump isn’t doing this to be a dick and he’s not picking to be a racist. He’s doing it because it’s his job to keep every single one of us safe here in the United states. So fowler needs to understand that, keep his mouth shut and play ball. Any problem with it the break the contract and move. Stl is a great baseball town and we don’t need his b.s.”

-Jason Fudge

Among the 600 or so comments on Facebook post, 54 of them told Fowler to “shut up.” More than 30 told him to go back to the Chicago Cubs, where he played the past two seasons. Another 13 told him to keep his “mouth shut.” Six threatened to boycott the Cardinals. About three-quarters disparaged Fowler in one fashion or another. The crux: Know your place, stick to sports.

Good fans exist. They do. I swear.  They’re everywhere. It’s worth remembering, especially when they’re drowned out by the cacophony of sadness.

I’m ashamed to be a Cardinals fan after reading all of these racist and hateful comments. I know a lot of us are good people, but sadly “the best fans in baseball” aren’t acting as such.

-Matt Jordan

Would love to hear your thoughts…..

DELUX Magazine
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