As a third basement for the San Diego Padres, Hispanic baseball player Manny Machado is accustomed to living in the spotlight. Not only are his games aired on national television but he also receives an immense amount of attention due to things unrelated to his time spent playing ball. Recently, Machado stirred up American controversy when he wore a provocative t-shirt that contained three “taboo” words – “Let’s Go, Brandon.” across its front.
For those uninformed, Let’s Go, Brandon is a far-right phrase employed by supporters of Donald Trump who maintain that he won the 2020 election in spite of significant contradictory evidence. This expression came about when Nascar followers were roaring “F*ck Joe Biden,” but was misinterpreted as “Let’s Go, Brandon” by an attentive reporter.
President Joe Biden faced an affront when the Padres’ third baseman donned a shirt featuring that phrase. While some applauded him for it, others felt that he should not be getting political and instead focus on his job as a professional baseball player. It is certainly stirring up emotions in its wake!
“Shut up and hit the baseball! Remember, no politics in sports, THEY say!”
“Nice Shirt! Lol at the snowflakes melting down over this,” another person said.
“What happened to keeping politics out of sports?” upon seeing the shirt that the player was sporting, someone else quickly commented.
An individual who was overjoyed to witness the baseball player taking advantage of his platform to further a pro-Donald Trump message wrote, “Even Machado knows what’s up! #LetsGoBrandon #slamdiego.”
“Let’s keep politics out of sports…Where is the outrage on Fox News? Where is the shut up and K,” another person added.
Millions have expressed their indignation when professional athletes attempt to make political statements. For instance, Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the national anthem while employed by the San Francisco 49ers was a statement of protest against police violence and racial inequality in America.
Wearing a “Let’s Go Brandon” t-shirt in front of the camera, Machado is leading an act of defiance to make his opinion on Joe Biden and Donald Trump heard. Although as an immigrant he might not be eligible to cast his ballot during American elections now, this could all change if he acquires citizenship before the next national election takes place.
Ultimately, Manny Machado remains a highly debated figure in the sports world as a result of his wearing an alt-right t-shirt with “Let’s Go Brandon” while playing for the San Diego Padres. Consequently, it has been argued that this was conservatives’ means of demonstrating their disapproval of Joe Biden and support for Donald Trump.
Despite its ambiguity, Machado’s sartorial choice has surely raised questions about whether politics and sports should be intertwined as well as if athletes have a duty to voice their opinions on pressing matters using the platform they’ve been given. The long-term implications of his action remain unknown; however, one thing is clear: it’s sparked an important dialogue.