UPDATE, December 10: Still no comment from the Dodgers, but NBC Los Angeles ran a segment last night about it.
Original Story from December 9
After this debacle, organizations like the Los Angeles Dodgers will likely need to rethink who is running the team’s social media account.
Last night, several of our followers tweeted us the picture of Dodger slugger Adrián González giving Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto a Los Angeles jersey:
— Cynthia Moreno (@CMJournalist) December 9, 2014
— Lalo Alcaraz (@laloalcaraz) December 9, 2014
So we did a little checking and found out that last Friday night, González —a Mexican American born to Mexican parents in San Diego with roots in Tijuana and who has played for Mexico’s World Baseball Classic team three times in his career— visited Peña Nieto in Mexico City to accept the country’s 2014 National Sports Award. The original photo (without the 43 addition) that several profiles tweeted to us was real.
Last night, that December 5 picture was tweeted out by the Dodgers:
It was also posted on the team’s Instagram site:
As you might expect, users instantly slammed what the Dodgers had done. The following comments kind of explain themselves, but for those who need an explanation, a large part of the Dodgers’ fan base is of Mexican American (and Mexican) descent. And everyone who is following #Ayotzinapa instantly saw this image as a public relations fail. (We sent an email to the Dodgers for comment, but have yet to hear back from the team.)
— Cesar Sanchez (@CesarSanchezMBA) December 9, 2014
— Nancyy. (@sunshinee69) December 9, 2014
— Compa Eileen (@EileenTruax) December 9, 2014
— Yessi Duran (@yessssid27) December 9, 2014
There was this comment from Instagram: “Whoever had the idea to give that animal a shirt lives in a bubble or simply doesn’t care that all these horrible events, stemming from corruption, are taking place in the lives of Mexicans. Too many Mexicans fund your club to be putting up with a meaningless and disgusting post like this. Angels Nation it is! #Renunciaepn”
And so on and so on.
It is safe to say that we expect even more negative reaction today before the Dodgers respond—if they even respond. Several questions come to mind: who thought it was a good idea to customize a jersey for Peña Nieto, given all the recent events surrounding Ayotzinapa? Is Gónzalez not aware of the situation? If he is, did he stay silent about it? And are the Dodgers even aware that a significant portion of its fan base is very aware of the situation in Mexico?
This one hurts for a lot of people. The Dodgers should do the right thing and address this social media fail with honesty and true understanding. Typical “we apologize if we offended anyone, it wasn’t our intent” statements won’t cut it this time.
As for González? It’s not like pro athletes aren’t getting political these days.