Most of the Houston Astros visited the White House on Monday — and many leftists were unhappy that one player appeared to be actually enjoying the visit.
Astros outfielder Josh Reddick played a key role in the team’s World Series title last season, hitting .314 with 13 home runs in 134 games.
However, his role in the Astros’ visit with President Donald Trump may now lose him some left-leaning fans.
Reddick, smiling, stood next to the chief executive and presented Trump with an Astros jersey, a gift from the team similar to previous gifts given to presidents from other sports teams who have visited 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
After the event, Reddick posted on Instagram, “What a great honor it was today to be at the White House. Thank you President Trump for having us!”
Unfortunately for him, that innocent tweet received some harsh backlash.
Here are just a few examples:
And just like that..I’ve decided to unfollow my first sports player.
— Steven James (@WhadHeSay85) March 12, 2018
You lost thousands of fans today.
— Bobby Aguilera (@BobbyAguilera) March 12, 2018
This hurts my heart… My kids and I were such fans. ?? How could you do this.
— Mollees (@Mollee1703) March 12, 2018
On the bright side, it's not possible for me to respect Josh Reddick any less than I already did. https://t.co/oTFu3S94IV
— #DoodleYourFriend ? (@dodgerdudel) March 12, 2018
Reddick is an apolitical pro athlete in the public sphere. His views are not known, yet people are attacking him because they’re assuming they know his politics — and they disagree with those assumed beliefs.
Yet Reddick hasn’t shared his political beliefs, nor does he have an obligation to share. Leftists are willing to attack him because he is a white guy from a rural area of a red state (Georgia) and respects the office of the presidency.
Reddick was not pushing his beliefs on anyone; he was just happy to meet the president of the United States and be at the White House — and why shouldn’t he be?
A visit with Trump is bound to be met with backlash from leftists — just as skipping a visit to him is bound to be applauded.
However, outspoken liberals were swift to attack Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas, a noted Republican and no fan of Barack Obama, when he skipped a White House visit after his team won the Stanley Cup in 2011.
Sports Illustrated wrote that Thomas’ White House “snub” was “wrong” — while ESPN said he “picked the wrong time to make a political statement.” Bleacher Report said it was “disrespectful.” However, the same headlines don’t exist from those sites when players on the Golden State Warriors, the New England Patriots, or even the Houston Astros (Carlos Correa, Carlos Beltran) opted against attending the White House with Trump in office.
Instead, these outlets try to make it look like no one wants to visit this president. The New York Times, for example, tweeted out a misleading comparison between the Patriots’ last visit under Obama and their first one under Trump.
These photos lack context. Facts: In 2015, over 40 football staff were on the stairs. In 2017, they were seated on the South Lawn. https://t.co/iIYtV0hR6Y
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) April 20, 2017
Jason Foster, of Sporting News, tried to pull a similar stunt by making it seem as if Astros second baseman Jose Altuve was angry on Monday during the White House visit.
Jose Altuve looks like he'd rather be anywhere else. pic.twitter.com/Gj8WEnfR2X
— Jason Foster (@ByJasonFoster) March 12, 2018
On Tuesday, Altuve told The Houston Chronicle, “The president was talking. What do you want me to do? I was just standing there listening. It was an honor to be there. If I didn’t want to go, I just wouldn’t go.”
The new rule to follow with the mainstream media and twitter mobs seems to be this: Consult leftists before doing anything. And the concrete rule from them when it comes to White House visits appears to be this: Visit Democrats, but not Republicans.
And if someone agrees with them (the Left), that must make them a great person; but anyone who disagrees with them should be attacked.
The athletes who made the trip to the White House should be applauded for showing respect to the the country that has afforded them to a platform to succeed. Most likely, not all of them agree with Trump’s politics, but they are able to put those differences aside and respect the office of the presidency. If some people can’t handle that, so be it. There are plenty of proud Americans who would give nearly anything for that opportunity.
Tom Joyce is a freelance writer from the South Shore of Massachusetts. He covers sports, pop culture, and politics and has contributed to The Federalist, Newsday, ESPN, and other outlets.