Keep politics out of sports unless it’s everyone dogmatically standing for the National Anthem right before first pitch, right?
Or unless it’s the seventh inning and we’re all singing along to “God Bless America,” which was not a tradition until post-9/11 but is now treated as gospel … right? Just making sure I have all this straight.
Unfortunately, given the chance to be supportive, understanding, or at the very least silent, many Yankees fans showed their true colors Monday night in the wake of Aaron Hicks opting not to play following the police shooting of Daunte Wright in Minneapolis.
Within a 12-hour period, the Twitter mob went from calling for Hicks’ benching amid a tough start to demanding he play against his wishes. Wild.
Hicks, in need of a break for a multitude of reasons, ultimately chose to remove himself from the action on Monday, while Giancarlo Stanton, who also considered such actions, played through it.
Neither man was right or wrong; both were hurting, and both made personal decisions. Neither has earned your scorn. Honestly, neither has even earned your input.
Yankees outfielder Aaron Hicks took the day off after the killing of Daunte Wright.
The tragic killing of Wright, featuring a taser/gun excuse and a boastful “thin blue line” flag flying proudly outside the police headquarters of the killer, shut down the entire Minnesota sports landscape for the evening, with the Twins, Timberwolves, and Wild all pausing their seasons out of respect for the victim. Remember when “disrespecting the flag” was a top-of-mind issue, too? Now, we can choose to fly new flags representing political causes whenever it suits us. Interesting.
Hicks, who spent several years playing with that city’s name across his chest, found himself deeply affected as well, conflicted but with a job to do. Ultimately, he determined he could not fulfill that obligation in his current headspace. How many of you have called out sick for the sniffles? Yet you still have the audacity to question this?
Who are you, keyboard warrior, to tell someone when they should or should not be hurting?
Besides, we shouldn’t be power ranking reasons for taking mental health days. If someone needs time away from their daily grind, they should be afforded the luxury, whether they’re making millions or struggling with less. Try as you might to argue differently, the context really does not matter here.
Hicks is having issues at the plate right now, by any metric. Compound his regular clouded head with the unjustified killing of another unarmed black civilian, and it makes perfect sense why the center fielder would want to step away.
The unyielding discourse about Hicks throughout the season’s first week and a half has laid bare the unique disaster of modern fandom.
For decades, we screamed at the television as a man wearing our favorite uniform banged into another double play or tripped on the base paths. Now, a man’s name with a collection of 12 numbers after it has unfettered access to the player, and can tell him whatever he wants at the press of a button.
Unfortunately, this privilege is rarely used to show love and support. Monday served as another stark reminder that much of this polarized country is looking for any excuse to turn on its entertainers in their time of need.