It’s safe to say that in the year 2020, politics reigns supreme in the United States, and in today’s polarizing times, where one stands in the equation is everything.
This being something country music legend Garth Brooks would find out the hard way when he shared a photo online of himself wearing a football jersey emblazoned with the number “20” and the name “Sanders.”
Of course, considering Brooks was in Detroit, that should have been the first clue that all was not what some thought. The second clue should have been that the colors of the jersey were identical to the Detroit Lions football team.
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But instead of thinking of former NFL running back great Barry Sanders, some saw Bernie Sanders 2020 — and there aren’t many country music fans eager to associate with the self-avowed socialist candidate running for the White House.
The half-cocked world of social media may have been confused, but Brooks took the time to explain to the crowd at his Feb. 22 concert at Ford Field why he was wearing the jersey.
“I’ll tell you why I’m wearing the jersey I am wearing tonight,” he said. “I was lucky enough to be an athlete and to wear the same uniform as this guy wore in college. I was lucky to go to school with him.”
Brooks attended Oklahoma State at the same time as Barry Sanders — he was on the track team as a javelin thrower, while Sanders was a star running back on the football team.
“You guys got the greatest player in NFL history, in my opinion, in this jersey. I love this man,” he told the audience.
“And can I vouch for him firsthand from way back when he just came out of Kansas and got to Oklahoma State? He’s also one of the greatest human beings you’ll ever get to witness and be with. He’s a good cat. It’s an honor to wear this jersey tonight,” Brooks said.
Not necessarily political, Brooks did comment on the issue last year while working on a Habitat for Humanity project with former President Jimmy Carter.
“What the Carters stand for is what we should all shoot for as human beings,” Brooks said, according to Yahoo News. “Please forget Republican or Democrat. What they’re standing for is as human beings.”
“You’ve got to understand when you get to heaven, nobody cares about Republican or Democrat in heaven at all. ‘Welcome to heaven. This is it,’” he added. “You don’t care who’s on the other end of that board that’s helping you carry it. You don’t care the color of their skin, their sexual preference, their religious preference. It doesn’t matter. You’re all here to build a house for someone who needs it. Usually for a young lady and her babies, or a family that needs it. So this is way, way, way beyond any political agenda at all.”
Turns out, Sanders the football great responded to the confusion and proved that he has a real sense of humor, asking Brooks if he wants to be his vice presidential mate.
— Barry Sanders (@BarrySanders) February 28, 2020
Given that most Bernie Sanders critics are Republicans, who overwhelmingly back President Trump, there was a concerted effort online to link the mix-up back to the president.
Here’s a sampling of responses representing different perspectives from Twitter:
??? you’ve got my vote. Barry Sanders for President of the world!
— Mikie (@earth2_mike) February 28, 2020
@garthbrooks You turned a Jersey girl to Country when it wasn’t cool. A fan since 1985, when I visited Stillwater, Oklahoma for the College Wrestling Championships. Went out on the town & there you were?
?PLEASE just ???
Don’t ruin 35 years of Fanship over Politics?✌️❤️???
— CuriousCat17 (@Sportsgirlnj17) February 28, 2020
How can anyone not know Barry Sanders
— Sneaky Black Dog (@SneakyBlackDog) February 28, 2020
— Brent Henderson (@bighurtrocks) February 28, 2020
FOR PRESIDENT and VP = why not? pic.twitter.com/TZdA5MhhM2
— GrapeCrusher (@WineauxCrush) February 28, 2020
— Juan Uchiha ?? (@sauce_3) February 28, 2020
This is just a small window to why our country has so many issues, people attack first and think second
— Andrew Howell (@AndrewHowell18) February 27, 2020
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