Tampa Bay Rays opening day tweet? A direct attack on law enforcement – and the sheriff is not happy. (Op-ed)


ST. PETERSBURG, FL – Just shut up and play the game!

We don’t know about you, but we are literally sick and tired up to our eyeballs of being lectured by sports teams about social issues.

You make your money by grown men (and women) playing kids games, charging $8.00 for a hot dog that costs you $.50 cents to make, and $12.00 for a 12 oz beer that costs you the same. In other words, go pound sand.

The latest insult from the sporting world comes courtesy of MLB’s Tampa Bay Rays, a team whose greatest accomplishment is losing its only World Series appearance in five games, twelve years ago.

It has won the AL East exactly two times in 22 years. Quite a legacy. On opening day on July 24, the Rays thought it was a good idea to tweet, “Today is Opening Day, which means it’s a great day to arrest the killers of Breonna Taylor.”

Taylor was fatally shot on Marcy 13 by officers of the Louisville Police Department, who were serving a no-knock search warrant when her boyfriend opened fire on the officers. One of the officers was fired and the shooting is under investigation by the FBI. Louisville has since banned no-knock warrants.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, the tweed did not set well with Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, who slammed the Rays for posting the tweet. Gualtieri confirmed to the Times that he had called the president of the Rays, Matt Silverman last Sunday to express his dismay at the tweet.

“To turn a baseball event into a political event is uncalled for,” Gualtieri said. “It’s just wrong and it’s improper. It’s just reckless. It’s throwing gasoline on the fire, and it didn’t need to happen.”

Gualtieri, who is up for reelection in November said that it was wrong to weigh in on the case when the team didn’t “know all the facts” of the Taylor case. According to Gualtieri, Silverman said the tweet was not authorized by upper management in the Rays organization.

At a time when police are being demonized by social justice warriors, including Democrats and so-called sports “stars,” law enforcement officers are particularly sensitive to sensationalized information being put out, especially on social media.

Gualtieri said he was going to reassess the agency’s commitment to assist the Rays with matters such as traffic control and security in light of the controversy. While the St. Petersburg Police typically provide those services, the sheriff’s office assists with other tasks during Rays home games.

The chief of the St. Petersburg Police Department, Anthony Holloway also told the Times that he was “very concerned” about the contents of the tweet and said that he “disagreed with its characterization of the officers.”

“I called the Rays organization and we had a long discussion. However, this one ‘tweet’ will not impact our commitment as a professional agency to provide a secure environment for fans at future Rays games.”

They Rays declined to comment specifically on this incident, saying they have a “longstanding policy not to comment on private conversations.”

“We are grateful for the dialogue we continue to have with Sheriff Gualtieri and many other law enforcement personnel,” the statement said.

The tweet garnered more than 358,000 likes as well as over 100,000 retweets.

This is just another case of major league sports getting involved in matters of which they have no specific knowledge, other than to show how “socially aware” they are.

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We recently saw another MLB team, the Boston Red Sox, who have the wokest of woke ownership who purchased an ad on a billboard along the Massachusetts Turnpike adjacent to Fenway Park which says “Black Lives Matter.” In addition, the team put a similar message in a prominent place on their center field bleachers which is clearly visible behind the pitcher when games are shown on television.

Seven years ago, in Boston police officers and other first responders were held up as heroes. Today they are demonized by Red Sox ownership. Many people this writer included have watched their last game as lifelong Red Sox fans. We watch sports as an escape, not to be lectured to about how “racist” we are because of our chosen profession, or what color we were born.

All of this comes just days after the NBA had their season opener, where all the hypocritical millionaire basketball players had their social justice messages prominently displayed on their uniforms. Not one NBA player, however has spoken out against the atrocities occurring in Communist China, where recent video showed Uighurs being loaded into trains and shipped to concentration camps.

Nor have NBA players spoken out against American companies such as Nike and Apple, which use virtual slave labor to manufacture their products, including the footwear that many of those same NBA “stars” wear and endorse. While they preach about “systemic racism” in the United States, they ignore it in China. This relationship between the NBA and China is believed to be worth billions of dollars. Yet they lecture us about social justice. Laughable.

It will be interesting to see whether the American people are patient enough to put up with being lectured to. For example NASCAR, which saw a huge audience when it returned to racing on May 17 has seen a steady decline since, with a couple of bumps for its more popular races such as Talladega and Indianapolis. After the Bubba Wallace fiasco, ratings dropped two consecutive weeks after the Talladega race. Part of that decline could possibly be traced to the races being shown on FS1, which is likely not available on all outlets.

Baseball, which as shown above has joined the social justice warrior brigade started off strong when it first came back, however has come back down to earth over last weekend, according to Sports Media Watch.

It’s too early to tell what affect the wokeness of the NBA will have on their ratings but Sports Media Watch said the ratings were “good but nothing too special.”

Here is to hope the ratings continue to fall. If we want to be lectured to about how racist we are, we can watch speeches given by Barack Obama or any number of Democrats, or we can turn on CNN or MSNBC. Sports is supposed to be an escape, where we go to get away from the endless claptrap of life, especially in the midst of a seemingly endless pandemic and continuous riots across the country.

At least there is always the NHL, where they just play hockey. No preaching, just hockey. 

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