Monday night, the Scrap Yard Dawgs and the USSSA Pride started a 25 game summer series. The two former National Pro Fastpitch teams would play each other in Florida and Texas throughout the summer in a sort of nod to barnstorming teams of yesteryear. Although I wouldn't be attending the games, I was set to cover the series for Global Women's Sports Radio. Unfortunately, things took an ugly turn during the game, creating controversy and ill feelings, along with putting the series in jeopardy.
The game started okay. Former Chicago Bandits Sahvanna Jaquish of the Pride hit a double for the first hit of the game, but the game was scoreless until she clubbed a 3 run homer in the 4th inning. The Pride added one more run to seal a 4-0 victory.
This should have been an exciting start to a summer of great softball. It might be one and done, however.
The Dawgs official twitter account, tweeted a picture of the Dawgs standing for the National Anthem, accompanied by “Hey @RealDonaldTrump Pro Fastpitch being played @USSSASpaceCoast @USSSSAPride EVERYONE respecting the Flag!”
The tweet has since been deleted, but the damage was done. The Dawgs organization has not commented on the situation as of yet. The outrage started immediately and is outgoing.
Players, staffers and fans of both teams have spoken out in disgust and disappointment. Perhaps the most poignant statement came from the Dawgs' Kiki Stokes.
“I'm so hurt. Never in my entire playing career or even life have I ever been so hurt. I have never felt so small in a locker room, so helpless, so lonely. I feel betrayed, embarrassed, disgusted, angry...to come into that locker room after a game and have no idea that the organization I stayed loyal to for the last 5 years and put my honest to God heart and soul into wasn't looking out for me, but more importantly, my community hurts.”
What a horribly sad statement from a fine young woman. She deserves better.
These athletes deserve better. The sport deserves better. My hope is that somehow the players can still continue the series and use it as a platform of positivity to really shine the light on the cause.
I wanted to cover softball this summer. I'd rather not be writing about this ugly situation, but I will continue to cover this as it develops. My story for Global Women's Sports Radio can be found at Controversial Tweet Overshadows Pride-Dawgs Softball Game.
kIKI sTOKES and me in Rosemont, IL-Summer 2017.