One would think that wearing a Barry Sanders jersey in Detroit would be an automatic win and a tribute easily understood by all.
Well, not so fast.
Country music star Garth Brooks recently had a concert at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan, home of the Detroit Lions. Brooks donned a #20 jersey for all-time Lions legend Barry Sanders. The overwhelming majority of the crowd recognized the nod to the hometown crowd and cheered loudly.
However, after Brooks posted a photo of the jersey on Facebook, there was tremendous backlash. Not because the people on Facebook were Bears, Packers, or Vikings fans, but instead, because people apparently mistook the jersey for an endorsement of Democrat presidential candidate and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.
Facebook forgot who Barry Sanders is and is freaking out at Garth Brooks for wearing a jersey and I’m dying. pic.twitter.com/wVfAKU7Cn1
— Jason Vincent (@jasoncvincent) February 27, 2020
Commenters to the post did not hold back. Notably, one Facebook user called Brooks a “big freaking liberal socialist.” Another, advised Brooks to stick to music. “Don’t care about your politics,” the fan wrote. “Love your music. Let’s keep politics and your entertainment separate.”
As Sporting News notes, “These commenters seemingly associated the No. 20 with the election year of 2020 and assumed Brooks was making a presidential endorsement.”
Brooks has made a practice of wearing football jerseys for the city he’s playing in. He once wore a #11 Cardinals jersey in honor of Larry Fitzgerald in Arizona. Though, with no Fitzgerald’s in the presidential race, that incident drew considerably less backlash.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter @themightygwinn