USSSA Pride livestreamed the game on Facebook. The other, "We're done." The tweet on Monday, though, struck a raw nerve. The tweet ended with: "All lives do not matter unless black lives matter. a movement started by quarterback Colin Kaepernick in the N.F.L. The return of pro softball Monday night in Viera, Florida, marked the comeback of the first pro sports teams to play a game since the COVID-19 shutdown. a phrase that has been criticized as a way to invalidate the specific concerns of black people. Although we are all walking away from the Scrap Yard Dawgs organization we will fight like hell to give you all that hope. They originally had been penciled in to practice at the Jackie Robinson Complex in Vero Beach before the COVID-19 pandemic blossomed. “We have all said we are walking away from Scrap Yard and will not wear Scrap Yard uniforms,” Osterman said in a report Tuesday morning by the Houston Chronicle. The Pride, who were tagged in May's tweet, responded Tuesday morning: "Last night, the USSSA Pride was tagged in a tweet which suggested our pro softball team made an anti-kneeling political statement at a recent game during the national anthem. The USSSA Pride and Scrap Yard Fast Pitch, two independent professional softball teams that feature some of the top players in the world, began what was supposed to be a seven-game series in Melbourne, Fla., facing little competition from other live sports. THIS IS IT. “We were used as pawns in a political post, and that’s not OK.”. The tweet was quickly deleted, apparently after it had drawn backlash online. And Monica Abbott, 34, considered the greatest pitcher in the world, also chimed in with her official statement: "I kneel. The players spent an hour discussing the issue in the locker room, and decided that they could no longer play under the Scrap Yard name. Pro softball's return from COVID-19 a big hit for Olympians like Monica Abbott, fans alike, Game on: Olympic softball stars in Viera mark return of team sports as USSSA Pride takes the field. “It was a shock,” said pitcher Cat Osterman, 37, an Olympic gold medalist. Stokes, who is black, claimed that the tweet left her “feeling like I didn’t matter.” After the tweet was shared with all other members of the team, they demanded answers from their general manager, Connie May, who had been responsible for publishing pro-anthem message directed at Trump. A message left at the Scrap Yard Sports office in Conroe, Texas, was not returned. "Sadly, both the nature and the objective of this message are incredibly damaging and disrespectful to athletes, fans, and the community as a whole. The sport is mostly white, especially at the highest levels, and after Floyd’s death that imbalance seemed more urgent than ever, she said. The entire 2020 summer season of the USSSA Pride and the Dawgs is now in question, as is the training possibilities of the Olympic players, who might not have a location for organized workouts now. @ScrapYardFP I will never be associated with your organization again. By midnight, several players said they would quit on the spot since GM Connie May's comments blindsided them. ", Outfielder Kiki Stokes, the lone Black player in the Dawgs' starting lineup Monday night, issued statements to her teammates and to the fans, one that read in part: "This season was supposed to be for you, to give you hope that even in a time of uncertainty and chaos that something great can still happen. Has nothing to do with respecting the flag and ALL to do with respecting ALL Americans in this country regardless of color of skin. Connie began coaching when Meagan was 9 years old and still remains active in coaching today. Cat Osterman warming up before a Team USA game in February. Keep that same energy. May and Scrap Yard Fast Pitch did not respond to requests for comment. Kelsey Stewart during Olympic trials in 2019. Osterman and other players quit a professional team this week after its general manager politicized a picture of them during the national anthem. Catcher Aubree Munro of Florida was among those who said she'd walk out. “An actual, genuine, speechless shock took over our locker room.”. @ScrapYardFP I will never be associated with your organization again. Pro softball's return from COVID-19 a big hit for Olympians like Monica Abbott, fans alike, Olympic softball stars in Viera mark return of team sports as USSSA Pride takes the field, Your California Privacy Rights/Privacy Policy. I’m DISGUSTED. Support our work by subscribing to FLORIDA TODAY. Reports from Orlando's WFTV said the now-former Dawgs will remain in Brevard County to practice and hope another organization, or sponsor, picks up the contracts. Her tweet read: "It's a slap in the face to the strong Black women in our game and to the progress we have made in our sport. @ScrapYardFP I will never be associated with your organization again. The tone deafness on this is UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!!! The beginning of the Facebook live shows the teams lined up, presumably for the National Anthem. ", Pro softball players shared their thoughts in the social media firestorm like Natasha Watley, a Black two-time Olympic softball player. The tone deafness on this is UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!!!, I DO NOT support the comments made during our game by @scrapyardfp & I will not represent them. Monday evening, the Pride honored all the high school seniors from the visiting teams by having them form a ring around the infield. The Pride and Dawgs, considered to be the best pro teams in the world, were scheduled to resume the seven-game series Wednesday night, but now that is in question. Trump has frequently criticized athletes who kneel during the national anthem to protest racial injustice and police brutality, a movement started by quarterback Colin Kaepernick in the N.F.L. Part of her tweet on May's comments read: "This statement is NOT a representation of my values. Keep that same energy. The tweet apparently was sent during the anthem before the game between the Dawgs and USSSA Pride at the Viera Space Coast Sports Complex. Miami native Kylan Becker, the Dawgs' leadoff hitter Monday night, echoed sentiments shared by several of her teammates., Softball walk out, Publix COVID-19 and Coronavirus in Brevard: NI90, FLORIDA TODAY's Rob Landers brings you some of today's top stories on the News in 90 Seconds for June 23. Because the tweet has since been deleted... and the tweet author herself just texted me personally trying to justify her reasoning.. here we go. Connie passed on her love of softball to her only daughter Meagan May Whitley, who went on to become an All American at Texas A&M, in addition to playing on the 2011 USA National Team. More importantly, the tweet’s subtext is harmful and counterproductive to the current racial justice movement — a movement that the USSSA Pride fully supports and stands behind. ", Play ball! ", Teammate Kelsey Stewart posted two black slides, one that read: "This isn't us." "Further, the implication that the USSSA Pride does not support its athletes’ freedom of expression both on and off-the-field is categorically untrue. The tone deafness on this is UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!!! We will be better.". CONSIDER SUBSCRIBING TODAY: Help support our local journalism. The players said they did not want a photo of them standing during the national anthem to be used for political purposes. For a few hours this week, softball had a shot at something it has pursued for decades: the spotlight. ", We might be standing in this photo but we SURE AS HELL AREN’T STANDING FOR THIS.