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Baseball Players Show How to Properly Honor Our Flag

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The country feels like it’s being torn apart in the wake of athlete protests of racism and police brutality, with said protests taking place during the National Anthem. Much of the public, and even the President of the United States, has reacted angrily, claiming that the kneeling athletes are disrespecting our troops. Disrespecting our country. Disrespecting our flag.

While passions are running high on this issue, I think it’s OK for even those of us who support these protests, like I do, to acknowledge that many of those who do not support them feel the way they do out of a genuine sense of alarm at what they perceive to be disrespect for the flag. No, the athletes are not protesting the flag itself and have done nothing that objectively disrespects it — they have stated, over and over again, what it is they are protesting and have done nothing more than kneel in silence — but a great many people aren’t hearing that message for various reasons. Whatever the reasons for that it’s important to understand that, no matter the underlying issues, many if not most people in this country have a visceral reaction if they even think for a moment that the flag is being treated less than reverently.

Which is why there has been such an outcry over Astros outfielder Josh Reddick dancing around in an American flag Speedo yesterday as his teammates sprayed him with beer and champagne:

(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

The anger felt by millions at Reddick after he stretched Old Glory over his sweaty nether regions, after which he and it were doused with intoxicating liquors, has roiled the country— wait, what? Sorry. I’ll finish this post in a second. My editor is on the phone.

Huh. Weird. I am told that absolutely no one is upset with Reddick for this. And, in fact, even the hosts at Fox and Friends, who have spent countless broadcasts attacking other athletes for how they treat the flag, thought this was all good fun.

Which of course it was. No one with a single brain cell could possibly think that Reddick was disrespecting the flag. He was having a blast, along with his teammates. If you asked any of them, they’d tell you that and you’d be a fool not to believe them.

Maybe it’d be cool if we believed other athletes when they tell us what it was they’re doing as well.

Angels fire back at Rob Manfred’s comments re: Mike Trout

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren
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Angels outfielder Mike Trout‘s marketability has been a topic of conversation in recent days as the best players in baseball converged upon Washington, D.C. for the All-Star Game. We learned that, according to one firm that measures consumer appeal of personalities, Trout is as recognizable to the average American as Brooklyn Nets reserve forward Kenneth Faried, despite being far and away the best player in baseball and one of the greatest players ever to play the game.

Commissioner Rob Manfred also addressed Trout’s marketability, Gabe Lacques of USA TODAY Sports reported. Manfred said, “Mike has made decisions on what he wants to do, doesn’t want to do, how he wants to spend his free time or not spend his free time. I think we could help him make his brand very bug. But he has to make a decision to engage. It takes time and effort.”

The Angels fired back on Wednesday, releasing a statement that said:

On behalf of the Angels Organization and baseball fans everywhere, congratulations to Mike Trout on another outstanding All-Star Game performance.

Mike Trout is an exceptional ambassador for the game. Combined with his talent, his solid character creates a perfect role model for young people everywhere. Each year, Mike devotes a tremendous amount of his time and effort contributing to our Organization, and marketing Major League Baseball. He continually chooses to participate in the community, visiting hospitals, schools, and countless other charities. One of Mike’s traits that people admire most is his humility. His brand is built upon generously spending his time engaging with fans, both at home and on the road, while remaining a remarkable baseball player and teammate.

In addition, Mike spends quality time as a husband, son, brother, uncle, and friend. We applaud him for prioritizing his personal values over commercial self-promotion. That is rare in today’s society and stands out as much as his extraordinary talent.

It’s not on Trout to build a brand that appeals to MLB’s marketing department, so the Angels are right to back Trout’s decision to stay out of the limelight. The Angels’ motivation likely isn’t entirely selfless, however, as supporting him in this situation may make it more enticing for him to sign a contract extension before his current contract expires after the 2020 season.