The Minnesota Twins suffered some bad publicity recently when a fan in the stands posted a photo on social media that showed only seven players lined up along the first base line for the playing of the national anthem. The result was an outcry from people who said the photo displayed disrespect for flag and country by Twins players not lined up for the pregame ceremony.
Team officials took exception to the impression given by the photo. They said it showed only part of the field. Players on other parts of the field stood at attention. Players also may have needed last-minute adjustments in the clubhouse or indoor batting-cage area to prepare for the game.
Players who make six- or seven-figure salaries, and serve as role models to youngsters, should show more respect. Some people wondered whether having players from other countries may have contributed to the poor showing.
The Twins responded with a long list of the team’s efforts to show its support for the military, the country and the flag — including these items from the Twins community report:
• In 2014, the Twins were named a Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Company. The Yellow Ribbon program was pioneered by the Minnesota National Guard to connect all Minnesota service members and their families to community support, services and resources.
• The Twins offer free tickets to military members and their families throughout the season and offer discounted tickets at every Monday home game.
• The Twins hold an annual Armed Forces Appreciation Day that honors veterans and active service members from all five branches of the military. This year it’s June 12. The celebration includes special pregame festivities and more than 1,000 donated tickets for military members and their families.
• Before each game, a veteran or a member of the armed services raises the flag in the stadium.
• The Twins radio network broadcasts the playing of the national anthem before each game.
Despite all of these good efforts, the team received a wake-up call from the fan’s photo on social media.
Bottom line: “We are going to do better,” said Kevin Smith, senior director of corporate communications and broadcasting.
We hope so.
Players need to organize their time so they can be standing at attention for the playing of the national anthem. They must show respect for the country and the men and women who serve in the military who defend their freedoms.
FROM AN EDITORIAL IN THE ST. CLOUD TIMES