As we sit in states of grief, despair and disbelief after another preventable massacre of children in UvaldeTexas, the New York Yankees shocked the nation by forgoing their usual Twitter programming during their game against the Tampa Bay Rays last night.
Instead of highlights, score updates and roster announcements, the Yankees’ official Twitter account posted facts about gun violence in America along with quotes for the information. They were joined by the Rays account to do so. The Rays also pledged $50,000 to a gun violence prevention organization.
Of all the teams in all sports in this country, who would have thought it would be up to the Yankees to take a stand and set a precedent for how to respond to political discourse in the wake of a senseless tragedy? This is, after all, a franchise whose singular goal is to win championships, top to bottom, never a wasteful move. So military, it forces its players to shave and have their hair cut before even putting on their precious stripes. The only positions he takes are on the diamond. And even.
With a combined reach of over 4 million followers, the two teams’ accounts published statistics on topics such as mass shootings, the effects of gun violence on different demographics, including women, black , Latinx and children, and the correlation between gun ownership and suicide, especially for military veterans. It was a hard-hitting move — though somewhat undermined by the Yankees’ continued employment of pitcher Aroldis Chapman, who was suspended by the league in 2016 for a domestic violence incident involving a firearm.
But for those asking, “Well, what is this team/player/organization supposed to do about it?” : When others demand decisive and impactful action from these parties in response to such horrific events, here is the answer to that question. question. They reached large audiences and interrupted regular programming to make advocacy even more powerful. When people check their favorite team’s Twitter expecting to see a replay of a double and they come across something like this, it means Something, especially coming from an organization like the Yankees.
Both teams’ tweets also included numbers for helplines for victims of domestic violence and those contemplating suicide.
As to how not answer? See no further than Atlanta Falcons head coach Arthur Smith, who somehow staged a mass shooting and said ‘compromise’ was the solution to death of 19 children and two adults.