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Cubs’ Double-A affiliate injects itself into ‘Betsy Ross flag’ debate

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Nike recently decided to pull one of its sneakers, featuring the 13-star “Betsy Ross flag,” off of the market after consulting with activist and former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick expressed concern that the flag was a symbol of an ugly time in the history of the U.S., when slavery was legal. The flag has been flown by white supremacists, including Jeremy Joseph Christian, at rallies.

If Kaepernick said “breathing is good,” a certain segment of the population would hold their breath until they passed out. They were upset with Nike when it teamed up with him to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the “Just Do It” slogan, vowing to boycott the company. Those same people apparently forgot about their boycott because they’re threatening to boycott Nike again over this issue with the flag.

The Tennessee Smokies, the Double-A affiliate of the Cubs, decided to inject itself into the debate on Wednesday. The team’s Twitter account posted four pictures showing the 13-star flag across second base with the caption, “Hey @Kaepernick7 after a lot of thought, we have decided it’s best to just do it. #America” The team has since deleted the tweet, but here it is for posterity:

Personally, I’d love to see a Venn diagram of the crowd that constantly shouts “stick to sports” and the crowd applauding the Smokies because it would be just one circle.

Most of us have had a friend who reflexively did whatever behavior you told him not to do anymore because it’s annoying. “Stop chewing with your mouth open.” [He grossly exaggerates his chewing while smacking his lips.] That’s what all of this backlash to Nike and Kapernick looks like — just reflexive, childish contrarianism.

At any rate, it’s worth noting that the flag code says that the flag should not be used for advertising purposes, nor should it be embroidered on anything. It also says that the flag shouldn’t be part of a costume or athletic uniform. Of course, the flag code is for the current flag of the U.S. but I’d imagine self-described patriots would want to be consistent about respect for the flag.

Update: The Smokies issued a statement on Twitter about the now-deleted Tweet.

“We did not mean to offend” is not an apology, Smokies.

Nationals’ major leaguers to continue offering financial assistance to minor leaguers

Sean Doolittle
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On Sunday, we learned that while the Nationals would continue to pay their minor leaguers throughout the month of June, their weekly stipend would be lowered by 25 percent, from $400 to $300. In an incredible act of solidarity, Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle and his teammates put out a statement, saying they would be covering the missing $100 from the stipends.

After receiving some criticism, the Nationals reversed course, agreeing to pay their minor leaguers their full $400 weekly stipend.

Doolittle and co. have not withdrawn their generosity. On Wednesday, Doolittle released another statement, saying that he and his major league teammates would continue to offer financial assistance to Nationals minor leaguers through the non-profit organization More Than Baseball.

The full statement:

Washington Nationals players were excited to learn that our minor leaguers will continue receiving their full stipends. We are grateful that efforts have been made to restore their pay during these challenging times.

We remain committed to supporting them. Nationals players are partnering with More Than Baseball to contribute funds that will offer further assistance and financial support to any minor leaguers who were in the Nationals organization as of March 1.

We’ll continue to stand with them as we look forward to resuming our 2020 MLB season.

Kudos to Doolittle and the other Nationals continuing to offer a helping hand in a trying time. The players shouldn’t have to subsidize their employers’ labor expenses, but that is the world we live in today.