The Tennessee Smokies, a minor league baseball team that is an affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, created some controversy following an attempt to troll former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and Nike after a sneaker featuring Betsy Ross’ flag of the original 13 colonies was scrapped.
Prior to the start of a game on Wednesday, July 3, the Smokies tweeted out a photo that showed the flag drawn into the infield dirt at Smokies Stadium in Kodak, Tennessee.
“Hey @Kaepernick7 after a lot of thought, we have decided it’s best to just do it. #America,” the team tweeted.
Drawing the flag on a field that will be stomped all over by baseball players throughout the night really isn’t the best way to honor the flag and country, which the team appeared to quickly realize.
The message was ultimately deleted after realizing their attempt to mock Kaepernick and Nike fell flat. However, because this is the internet, a screenshot was quickly captured to show exactly what the Smokies initially sent out.Twitter
As you might expect, the team apologized for their failed troll job.
“Regarding one of our recent tweets regarding @Kaepernick7 and our field design for tonight’s game, it was meant to be a light-hearted take on a current situation. We did not mean to offend anyone by it. If it did, we certainly apologize,” the team tweeted as a follow-up.
Tennessee Smokies marketing and community relations manager, Connor Pearce, told the Associated Press that the team was attempting to make a “lighthearted take on a current situation.”
University of Tennessee Interim System President Randy Boyd, who owns the team, denied any involvement in the incident.
“Just catching up. I was not at the ballpark tonight and was not aware of any of tonight’s actions or tweets. But I hope we’ll skip all the politics so everyone can get back to celebrating the Fourth with their families and friends,” he tweeted.
Just catching up. I was not at the ballpark tonight and was not aware of any of tonight’s actions or tweets. But I hope we'll skip all the politics so everyone can get back to celebrating the Fourth with their families and friends.
— @randyboyd (@randyboyd) July 4, 2019
The Smokies celebrated Independence Day on Wednesday night by wearing patriotic uniforms and hosting a fireworks celebration at the stadium following the game.