Osterman, teammates criticize softball team for anthem tweet

Sports

VIERA, Fla. (AP) — A fast-pitch softball team was sharply criticized by U.S. star Cat Osterman and several of her teammates after it tweeted to President Donald Trump that its players were standing for the national anthem and respecting the flag.

The Scrap Yard Dawgs played USSSA Pride on Monday night in Florida. The since-deleted tweet included a picture of the Dawgs standing and read: “Hey @realDonaldTrump Pro Fastpitch being played live @usssaspacecoast @USSSAPride Everyone respecting the FLAG!”

The 37-year-old Osterman tweeted after the game that she did not support the comments by the team and “will not represent them.” Monica Abbott, another U.S. pitcher headed to the Tokyo Olympics next year, said in a statement that she disagreed with the team’s message.

“Being blind sided, with a tweet like this in the middle of the game, is the utter most disrespect to my Black teammates, all athletes and supporters,” Abbott said in her Twitter post. “And this is not acceptable.”

USA Softball said Tuesday in a statement on its Twitter account that it “fully supports” all national team members and their rights to express their beliefs.

Osterman told the Houston Chronicle on Tuesday that the team is “walking away from Scrap Yard and will not wear Scrap Yard uniforms.”

“For now, we’re 15 or 16 girls and coaches who don’t have an organization,” she said. “Now we have to decide if we want to continue playing and what that would look like.”

It was the first game for Scrap Yard since the coronavirus pandemic shut down sports all over the world. The Dawgs are an independent team based in Conroe, Texas, just north of Houston.

A message was left Tuesday night seeking comment from the team.

Osterman said general manager Connie May sent the tweet, and the players spoke to her after the game.

“The GM tried to defend her tweet by saying it came from a good place in her heart and that she was proud of us taking the field and being able to unite, so to speak,” Osterman told the Chronicle.

“This team is very united. We were proud to take the field, and it would have been a platform for showing that sports can continue. However, it was hijacked by being political.”

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