St. Louis Cardinals: Dexter Fowler Receives Criticism for Comments on Travel Ban

Feb 20, 2017; Jupiter, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals center fielder Dexter Fowler (25) poses during spring training media day at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

As every major league team prepares for the upcoming season, Dexter Fowler is learning to field the criticism he received for commenting on President Donald Trump’s travel ban.

Over the past nine years, Dexter Fowler has built a reputation of high-character and sportsmanship. His clubhouse presence and leadership sparked the interest of the Chicago Cubs, who signed him in 2016, and now the St. Louis Cardinals.

Yet, all of this fell on deaf ears as Fowler recently ran into criticism for commenting on President Donald Trump’s travel ban. Based on how people reacted, it gave the impression that Fowler vulgarly attacked Trump in a profane way. However, this could not be farther from the truth

“I don’t know about this thing you’re telling me about, but he’s not a guy who would try to hurt anyone else,” said Starlin Castro (per bleacherreport.com). “He’s a great person. He’s a great player. He comes to the ballpark and plays hard every day. He’s a really good guy. I don’t think he wants to hurt anyone’s feelings.”

His “Crime”

Fowler’s wife of four years, Darya, is from Iran and still has family in the Middle East. Since Iran is one of the seven countries included in Trump’s travel ban, consequently, their daughter, Naya, is unable to meet her overseas relatives. Likewise, Darya’s sister postponed her return to the United States for fear of being detained.

When an ESPN reporter asked Fowler to comment on the travel ban, he responded:

“It’s huge. Especially any time you’re not able to see family, it’s unfortunate.”

Instead of seeing the 13-word comment for what it was, a respectful expression of one’s opinion, some used social media to voice their misinterpretation of Fowler’s use of the word “unfortunate.”

Although they claim to be “fans just like all of you and love this team”, the Facebook page St. Louis Cardinals True Fans leaped on the newest member of their favorite team. In similar fashion, the Chicago Cubs True Fans page quickly voiced their disgust with Fowler’s comment. Followers of the both pages used harmful and racial insults to criticize Fowler.

Person First, Sportsman Second

Fowler is just one of several professional athletes to voice their opinions on political issues. He joins the company of quarterback Colin Kaepernick and a number of New England Patriots players in practicing their freedom of speech.

However, in recent years, it seems as if athletic ability exempts those in professional sports from having an opinion. While many fans told Fowler to “just play baseball“, he is above all a human with the same right to share his opinion as anyone else. He continued to hold his ground when the topic resurfaced again on Monday.

“I’m always going to care for my family,” Fowler said (per ajc.com). “If a question is asked out of concern, I’m going to answer the question. I’m going to answer it truthfully. It’s not hurt anybody.”

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