A sports columnist for the Washington Post lit into recently released Washington Nationals pitcher Jonathan Paplebon saying that because he supports Donald Trump and the Second Amendment he doesn’t reflect the interests of local fans.
The Washington Nationals released the relief pitcher only days ago committing to pay him more than $3 million in salary despite cutting him from the team. The cut came mostly, according to Nats general manager Mike Rizzo, because Papelbon just wasn’t helping the team win games.
But Post writer Dan Steinberg was excited to see the boisterous hurler hit the road for another reason: Steinberg doesn’t like Papelbon’s politics.
After repeating several stories from fans giving anecdotal evidence that they didn’t like the player’s attitude, Steinberg proceeded to to diss Papelebon’s political positions.
Now maybe players don’t, or shouldn’t, care whether the home fans like them. If a Nationals player did care, though, he probably wouldn’t have wanted to wear a T-shirt reading “Obama can’t ban these guns” to his let’s-make-amends spring training news conference. Nor would he have, on multiple occasions, played a political anthem while reporters were inside the Nats clubhouse.
The “ditty” was called “Vote For Trump,” and it included promises that “the wall will get built by Mexico” and that Trump would “[bring back country [and] get rid of rap,” also noting that “if you don’t like it you can all just kiss our ass.”
Steinberg then backpedaled a bit saying fans shouldn’t attack players for their politics or taste in music, but the columnist still felt Papelbon’s choices were bad because “the Nats’ fan base leans more left than right.”
Papelbon’s politics, Steniberg insisted, proved that the player didn’t care about the fans and “it all contributed to the impression that Papelbon wasn’t particularly interested in reversing his local unpopularity.”
Apparently, this Post columnist feels that pro ball players need to put their finger in the air and test the “local fans” to see what sort of politics they should espouse.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at email@example.com.