Newly back to his perch as a sports anchor on ESPN, former news anchor Keith Olbermann used his nightly pulpit on Tuesday to go after the Washington Nationals. The complaint? That the players, in a tribute to victims of the Navy Yard shootings, wore blue and gold Navy practice caps during the pregame ceremonies but, under Major League Baseball policy, not during the actual games.
Olbermann railed that the Navy caps should have stayed on “during the games, both games, because under those caps are people, and in those stands are people, and the victims who fell five blocks away were people. The caps, the irrelevant, no-magic-powers-to-them caps, unify people.”
The Nats felt the impact of Monday’s shootings more than almost any other local institution, in part because of the sheer proximity of Nats Park to the Navy Yard. One of the stadium’s parking lots was used as a staging area for workers, their families, and the families of the victims. A scheduled Monday game was postponed to Tuesday, necessitating a doubleheader with the Atlanta Braves. The players donned Navy caps at both games.
Olbermann tore into the Nats for kowtowing to MLB policies and “profiteering” that discourages wearing non-baseball caps during games. He said they should have bucked the policy. “Shame on the Nationals; more shame on the MLB,” he said.
Olbermann indicated that the players could not wear the Navy caps on television at all because the MLB can’t make money off of them, as the caps belong to the Navy. However, at least during the evening game (the only one of the doubleheader I saw with my own eyes), the caps were on the players’ heads or held over their hearts during the game opening and the two minutes of silence for the victims.
No surprise, Twitter went wild about Olbermann’s words. Here’s a sampling: