It’s not every day that all the members of a sport’s team walk out on their coach. So, in June of 2020 when the entire Scrap Yard Fast Pitch softball team decided to quit, it made headlines. News outlets and reporters quickly went to the team to see what caused this separation between the female players and the team.
Why did they quit? Do they have a new team? What are the players saying? You will find the answer to all of these questions and more in this article.
Why Did They Quit?
During this past summer, all 18 players on a professional softball team walked away and decided to form their own original team. This happened after their former general manager, Connie May, made a tweet that did not go over well with the players. The tweet supposedly is in regard to @PresidentDonaldTrump and his beliefs on standing for the pledge. It pokes at the former President for the fact that the players that May manages were standing during the national anthem in support of the flag. Her players would later refer to this comment as “tone deaf” and because they believe that the message did not express their values.
All of the female players on the softball team known as Scrap Yard Fast Pitch, which is based in Texas, walked out on the team in light of the tweet, which is no longer available on Twitter according to Time.
The tweet reads “Hey @realDonaldTrump Pro Fastpitch being played live … Everyone standing for the FLAG!”. Alongside it was a photo of the softball team players standing on the field with their hands crossed over their chests.
What the Players Have to Say
Apparently, the players had no idea about the tweet until after the first of seven games against the USSSA Pride in Florida when they were in the locker room looking over their social media accounts according to People. The players then went to Twitter to tweet their own individual messages that claimed that the tweet did not represent their beliefs. In their tweets, some also made sure to stress their support for the Black Lives Matter Movement. On that same day in the locker room, they all decided to ban together and quit the team for good.
Several of the female softball players reported to The New York Times how upset they were that May had spoken on their behalf without their consent in a way that implied they do not support the Black Lives Matter movement.
One pitcher and Olympic gold medalist Cat Osterman said that “The more we talked about it, the angrier I got, and I finally just said, ‘I’m done, I’m not going to wear this jersey,’. We were used as pawns in a political post, and that’s not OK.”
The paper also reported that May came to talk with the players, but repeated the phrase, “All lives matter” frequently. As a result, Kelsey Stewart, who was one of the Black players on the team came out and said “I never really thought that she didn’t care about my life or Kiki [Stokes’] life until that post”. Meanwhile, Stokes, the other Black player, shared her own statement on Twitter by saying that she had never felt “so hurt” throughout her entire career playing softball.
Kiki Stokes wrote in her tweet “I have never felt so small in a locker room, so helpless, so lonely…”. She continues by saying “I feel betrayed, embarrassed, disgusted, angry … to come to into that locker room after a game and have no idea that the organization I stayed loyal to for the last five years and put my honest to God heart and soul into wasn’t looking out for me but more importantly my community hurts”. Her words contain a lot of emotion as you have read.
The hurt that all of these players experienced was unimaginable. Luckily though, they began their own team, which they felt better represented their views.
Their New Team
After leaving their former team, all 18 players have begun a new team called This Is Us.
On their website, they make a statement that starts with the words “We are here to raise awareness”. This statement represents their team’s plans as they unapologetically support Black Lives Matter. The statement also goes on to read, “We are here to spark a necessary change in the softball community, gaining and sharing knowledge about racial injustice in our world.” They are not only just a team, but they are also a group that wants to share their support for marginalized groups. This is much more than you can say for the average softball team.
After the formation of their new team, infielder Sam Fischer said, “Playing would be really powerful, taking that control back that was taken away from us. Everybody was pretty much on board immediately about wanting to play, so it was about, ‘What does that look like and how does it happen?’”. The making of the team was more than just putting together some people, but it also involved putting together their beliefs.
According to ESPN, they plan to use a donation-based financial model to continue playing the approximately 25 games they have left against the USSSA Pride. This Is Us currently has a page set up to accept donations, so if you are ready and willing to do so, I am sure your donation will be greatly appreciated.
We Should Support Them and Their Team
How many women do you know quit their team to start a new one? Probably not a lot, if any. The fact that these women did this to stand up for what they believe in along with their Black teammates is very inspiring. We should support them in their efforts in softball and champion more outspoken beliefs such as this in sports.
It is hard to quit something that you’ve been a part of your entire career to start something new. These women were able to do that, however. It has not been easy and will surely be harder going forward, but as long as they can properly represent their beliefs, I doubt that they will fail.
If you would like to read more empowerment articles like this, head over to this article to read about how Taylor Swift Calls Out Patriarchal Standards in “The Man”.