I filed this post under “media bias.” “Media stupidity” might be a better tag.
Today, President Trump tweeted:
Has anyone noticed that all the Boston @RedSox have done is WIN since coming to the White House! Others also have done very well. The White House visit is becoming the opposite of being on the cover of Sports Illustrated! By the way, the Boston players were GREAT guys!
At Politico, Caitlin Oprysko responded with a story called “Trump takes credit for Red Sox turnaround.” At the Washington Post, Philip Bump wrote a similar story called “Trump is proud to report that the Red Sox swept a sub-.500 team thanks to him.”
I’ll get to these ridiculous articles in a moment. First, let’s talk about the team’s visit.
It was, of course, controversial. The left’s war on President Trump has made all such visits controversial.
Some championship teams, e.g. the Baylor women’s basketball team, accept the White House invitation and show up with essentially the full squad. Some teams either decline the invitation or make it clear they don’t intend to go, causing the White House to withdraw the invitation.
The Red Sox did neither. Some players attended, others did not.
As I understand it, all or nearly all of the White American players showed up. This contingent almost certainly included both Republicans and Democrats; Trump supporters and folks who don’t particularly like him. They showed up for the opportunity to visit the White House, out of respect for the office, and in some cases respect for Trump.
Only one minority group member attended, J.D. Martinez who is of Cuban descent but is from Miami. The rest chose not to come. This included American players from the States, players (and the club’s manager) from Puerto Rico, and non-American players from Latin America.
The team members from Puerto Rico cited the federal government’s response to the hurricane there. If one genuinely believes that Trump doesn’t care about the people on that island, thus making the government’s response to the storm worse than it otherwise would have been, that’s not an irrational reason to boycott the White House. But I’m cynical enough to suspect that these guys — like all but one of the Latino players and all of the blacks — wouldn’t have shown up in any event.
Foreign players, of course, have less reason to attend a White House ceremony than Americans do. The building doesn’t have the same meaning for them. However, to my knowledge, foreign players always came to the White House with their team before Trump was elected.
Thus, these foreigners must have been protesting the Trump presidency (and some so stated). So were the Black players.
There’s nothing new in this. It’s a symptom of the cold civil war America seems to be on the brink of. The only interesting fact about the Red Sox’s visit is that the division between who showed up and who didn’t was almost 100 percent along racial/ethnic lines.
This fact caused some to wonder whether the divide over the White House visit would create discord among the Red Sox. Jemele Hill, a race monger whose rabid political commentary led to her departure from ESPN, suggested that the White players owed their mates an explanation. She asked: “If you’re one of the athletes of color on a team, how can you not wonder how your white teammates feel about people like you?”
The obvious answer is, because you are with your your white teammates constantly. How they feel about “people like you” will be manifest from day-to-day interactions, a far better indicator than the ideological assumptions on which Hill, who has a professional interest in the matter, thinks they should rely.
This brings me back to Trump’s tweet about Boston’s post-visit success and the ridiculous stories in Politico and the Washington Post. Trump obviously was having a laugh when he pointed out that the Sox were undefeated since their White House visit. You have to be an idiot to think he was seriously claiming that the visit caused the wins.
Trump has a very high regard for himself, but he does not believe in magic. One can’t succeed to the degree Trump has if one does.
But the winning streak does undercut, at least to some degree, the notion that because White players visited and non-White and Latino players did not, racial/ethnic tension would harm the team. The Red Sox are doing just fine, thank you.
I doubt that Trump had this in mind when he sent his tweet, though. As I said, he probably was just having fun and perhaps hoping to bait morons at Politico and the Washington Post into “disproving” his tongue-in-cheek statement.
If so, they did not disappoint. They never do.