Like any other brand on Twitter, the Baltimore Orioles decided to send out what should have been a harmless holiday message to their fans. On Dec. 26, the first day of Kwanzaa, the team sent out a message telling their fans to have a “Happy Kwanzaa.” Because this is the Internet, you already know people got mad.
Here’s the tweet that made people angry:
Just hours after that message was sent, the team hopped back on Twitter to respond to those who were unhappy with that tweet. That message was pretty clear: If you promote “hate or bigotry,” don’t follow the team.
The full message reads:
“A common love of the Orioles is what brings everyone together on this page. We’re happy to have a diverse fan base of the best fans in the world. If you cannot show respect for others, kindly unfollow us. There is no room for hate of bigotry on our social media or in our ballpark.”
On the one hand, it’s disappointing that the Orioles felt they had to issue this response based on some of the comments they received for the initial tweet. On the other, kudos to them for sending out such a strong message in the face of those who would rather spread hateful messages online.
The team has had too much experience with that type of thing in 2017. In May, Orioles outfielder Adam Jones told reporters he was taunted with racial slurs while playing at Fenway Park. The Red Sox apologized and began cracking down on hateful language at the park. In September, the Red Sox released a statement denouncing “racism and hate.” The message from the Orioles hits similar notes.
As the team explained on Twitter, the thing that brings fans together is love for their team. If a subset of those fans aren’t being respectful, the Orioles have every right to not want them as part of their community.
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Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik