Not Sticking To Sports: Yankees And Rays Anger Fans By Tweeting Facts About Gun Violence

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays are in the midst of a four game series and decided to use their official Twitter accounts to bring awareness to gun violence. That both teams used game day to tweet this information is powerful, though some fans wanted the teams to “stick to sports.” Too bad for fans that have that mindset. Sports and society have and always will be intertwined.

“In lieu of game coverage and in collaboration with the Tampa Bay Rays, we will be using our channels to offer facts about the impacts of gun violence,” the Yankees said in a statement. “The devastating events that have taken place in Uvalde, Buffalo and countless other communities across our nation are tragedies that are intolerable.”

The Yankees and Rays are the latest professional sports teams “speaking out” in the wake of the mass shooting tragedy at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

Of course there were tons of fans in the replies commenting some variation of “stick to sports.”

Former New York Mets player Lenny Dykstra replied to one of the tweets from the Yankees account and used an expletive and called Yankees employees “woketard sheep.”

The Gun Violence Archive has counted 214 mass shootings in the United States so far in 2022 and we’re not even halfway through the year. Of those, 27 have been school shootings. It’s clear to anyone with common sense and compassion that we have a serious gun problem in this country that needs to be addressed.

This isn’t really a debate. There is only one position needed on this issue, and it’s to highly restrict access to guns.

Every business and entity with a platform and captive audience needs to push the message of gun control. The more prevalent it is, perhaps it will spur more of the citizenry into action demanding change.

This is a good first step by the Yankees and Rays, as well as the Miami Heat of the NBA who advocated for common-sense gun laws prior to Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals.

But it’s not enough.

If teams and leagues are truly about doing what is right they would disavow all affiliations to the United States military and local law enforcement. They would stop all the honoring of “hometown heroes.” Law enforcement has routinely failed to serve and protect the communities they are sworn to.

The conflation of the military and law enforcement has had a dangerous effect on discourse in society. Because of this conflation any criticism of police or the military-industrial complex is painted as “anti-American.”

As a citizenry we have the right to question and criticize these institutions, particularly when they don’t do the job they are purported to do.

In dire situations like America’s gun problem if a team or a league truly wants to take a stand and have impact, it cannot be concerned with offending a part of its customer base that disagrees. That’s what taking a stand means.

Going forward it will be interesting to see how many teams and leagues continue to push the message of gun control as a “show” versus those that actually push forward to enact significant change.