Washington Nationals Golf with Trump

Ryan Zimmerman (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Ryan Zimmerman (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Several members of the Washington Nationals went golfing with Donald Trump. You can be angry if you want, but be fair in your condemnation.

On Monday several members of the World Champion Washington Nationals were reported to have spent the afternoon golfing with President Donald Trump. Patrick Corbin, Ryan Zimmerman, Trea Turner, Kurt Suzuki and Daniel Hudson made up a sixsome that hit the links on what was an off day for the Nationals, and evidently the President as well.

Many Nationals fans voiced their displeasure in the outing on social media, condemning the players involved.

I saw numerous people who posted about their disappointment in the players for aligning themselves with “45.”  I understand the knee-jerk reaction, but ‘disappointment’ comes from someone not meeting the expectations you have set for them. Personally, I don’t know any of the players mentioned in the golf outing, so the idea that I would have any expectation about them politically or socially seems unreasonable.

Cards on the table, I consider myself to be very liberal.  I live inside of the District, and I don’t have many (any?) friends who voted for Trump. In fact, I rarely even meet anyone who did.

Politics is obviously, a huge part of the culture in D.C. So local celebrities who align themselves politically in ways that go against D.C.’s liberal majority are sure to face scrutiny unlike they would in other cities.

But that isn’t always fair.  Each of these players have experiences and perspectives that are vastly different from my own.  They may have grown up in conservative towns or with conservative families.  They’re young and rich.  I don’t know that their perspective matches many everyday residence of Washington D.C., but I also don’t hold that against them. I just like going to the ballpark to watch the game.

Would I have gone golfing with Trump? Umm no.

But I can’t knock someone else for getting a free round.

As a fan, if a players actions or viewpoints go against your moral or ethical “line in the sand” you have every right not to root for them. But for those fans who are truly angered about the golf excursion; I warn to not be selective about when you draw that line.

During the 2016 political campaign virtually every owner of the four major sport franchises were active political donors.  Franchises contributed more than $26.6m to various political campaigns and political action committees. My guess is there are likely some teams that you root for, which have invested in political groups you may not agree with.

Current Nationals players have had incidents or comments that I’d assume most would believe are much more egregious than playing golf with Donald Trump.

In 2018, old homophobic and racist tweets surfaced from Trea Turner’s twitter account.  Less than two years later Turner’s jersey is a top seller.

Last season, Adam Eaton discussed his hesitancy to increase the salary and accommodations for minor league players.  He told the Washington City Paper, that the current structure “doesn’t allow you to make a living down there, and that for me (Eaton) is something that’s special.”

To me, the beauty of being a fan is not about players mirroring my personal beliefs, but rather to enjoy watching the best players in the world play a game that I love.  Players come and go, but the game is what is most important to me.

I certainly won’t be sporting a Ryan Zimmerman jersey this season, just as I got rid of my Trea Turner shirt when his tweets became public. But I’m also making the decision not to let a golf outing, which I view as ignorance from the players, impact my ability to enjoy the game of baseball.

If you decide to let political affiliations interrupt your enjoyment of the game, that is your decision, but be sure that your perspective is wide, and be careful that you don’t let it ruin something you love.