Is it possible Washington Nationals relief pitcher Jonathan Papelbon was released because he is pro-Donald Trump?
Despite a reported decline in his skills as a reliever and an unpopular fight with teammate Bryce Harper, the slugger is perhaps the biggest name in baseball today.
According to Washington Post sports columnist Dan Steinberg, the player’s support for the GOP nominee on a team based in the liberal confines of Washington, D.C. is at least worthy of consideration as a reason he was cut.
In a column posted last week, Steinberg pontificated:
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.”
The columnist went on to say that fans probably shouldn’t judge athletes on their political beliefs and offered that Papelbon himself was most likely responsible for his demise, in large part due to an inability to “make batters swing and miss,” not to mention the player’s indifference to “salvaging his reputation in the stands.”
On the other hand, the entire column could be construed as a high-and-tight pitch designed to brush back the next player in Washington who gets a fancy notion to publicly support a Republican politician.
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