Article Written by Adam Corsair (@ACorsair21)
I'm going to post this in both the Blue Jays and Raptors sections, as it applies to both. After watching the Raptors' Game 6 playoff game last night, coupled with some early season Jays games, this absolutely needs to be addressed.
Where I was born and where I live, it's considered not only strange but also taboo to cheer for non-New England based sports teams, let alone cheering for a team that is based outside of the country that I live in. Seriously, I'll have a Blue Jays or Raptors flag hanging from my house and my neighbors are like, "....what?" But make no mistake, I'm proud of my country and how good I have it. I understand the privilege and beauty of living in a country which I can even be allowed to cheer for a Canadian based team. I don't take the freedoms that are available to me for granted and understand the value they possess. However, I'm by no means a chauvinist as I'm not the stereotypical "RAH RAH! AMERICA!!!" kind of guy. Actually, I find extreme patriotism to be off-putting and sort of cult-ish. I don't need to broadcast or display the love and appreciation I have for my country as evidence that I do. It's a personal preference.
Having said all of that, for the life of me I cannot understand why any American would think it's appropriate, necessary, or logical to chant "USA! USA! USA!" like a bunch of ignorant zealots in a failed attempt to prove some sort of point when they are playing (read: losing) to a team from Canada. It literally makes absolutely no sense and it makes you look like imbeciles.
Let's take last night's game against the Milwaukee Bucks as proof of how stupid this is. During the Bucks' outstanding comeback (which ended up in a loss. But that's none of my business ::sips Liptons::), the crowd decided to put their brains away and go for the ol' "USA!" chant. I suppose, since the Raptors are from Toronto, these idiots believe that every single member of the Raptors roster were born and raised in Canada, and none of them are American. They must have forgotten that Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan PLAYED FOR TEAM USA AT THE OLYMPICS AND WON GOLD MEDALS FOR AMERICA! Or, if they were trying to drive in some sort of anti-Canadian sentiment, they must not have realized that out of the entire Raptors roster, it consists of ONE Canadian: Cory Joseph. That's it. Just one. Poor Cory Joseph. He's a good guy.
Oh, and let's not forget that the best player on the team that they are cheering "USA!" for IS NOT EVEN FROM AMERICA! Do they forget that Giannis Antetokounmpo is from Athens, Greece? Probably. Do they forget that Thon Maker is from Wau, South Sudan? Probably. Do they forget that Mirza Teletović is from Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina? Probably. Do they understand how absolutely hypocritical and moronic it is to chant "USA!" to build up some American pride for no reason whatsoever when members of the team they are chanting this for are not even from here? Definitely not. Or, ya know what? I know - They must really appreciate how great DeMar DeRozan was during the game and chanting "USA!" in appreciation. That had to be it.
And don't think baseball is free from this, either. It's actually even worse. There is a huge amount of non-American baseball players that are on every team in the MLB. However, much like those morons in Milwaukee last night, when the Jays come to visit, fans of the respective home team find it appropriate to chant "USA!" because... ya know, a Canadian-based team is in America! Baltimore fans chanted "USA!" during the first series of the 2017 season. They must still be pissed at Ubaldo Jiménez for serving a meatball to Edwin last year in the Wild Card game. Or they must not really like Hyun-soo Kim for some unknown reason. Or Pedro Álvarez must have said something to really make them want to chant "USA!" at him. Wait, I know. They must be chanting it in appreciation for when Marcus Stroman (ya know, that guy that plays for that Canadian team) was absolute nails for Team USA during the WBC - practically winning the championship for them and attaining WBC MVP. That's gotta be it.
Do they see a pattern here? When you chant "USA!" against the Jays or Raptors, you're also cheering for the American athletes that play on those teams! At the same time, you're also cheering against the non-American athletes that play for the team you are rooting for! How anyone cannot understand this simple concept is a mystery to me. Honestly, it's pathetic.
Don't get me wrong - there are appropriate times for chanting for the country you live in and displaying patriotism. Olympics? Go nuts! WBC? Have at it! World Cup of Hockey? Absolutely. These types of tournaments make complete sense to cheer for your country because the team you are cheering for (typically) consists of people that are from thereand/or they represent their respective country. Whereas, professional sports teams are made up of a cocktail of backgrounds, rendering the whole "USA!" chants pointless and illogical. It's because of the diversity of backgrounds that make up a professional team that lead them to be special. When you try to make this a border war that doesn't even exist, you just look dumb. So don't be dumb.
A lot of American readers will take this as an "anti-American" sentiment, and it's not. I'm not saying that you shouldn't be proud of the country you live in. I'm all for it. Whether it be Canada or the United States, be proud of your country. There's value in that, for sure. But when it comes down to it, and when you rrreeeeaaaalllllyyyy look at it, there isn't much separating or differentiating Americans and Canadians at all. I don't want to make this a "We Are The World" article, but seriously guys, we aren't that different.
Think about it, do you hear fans at the Rogers Centre or the Air Canada Centre chanting "CANADA!" when the Jays and Raptors are winning games? No. Know why? Because a) it doesn't make any sense to do this, and b) they have class. Chanting for your country during a professional sports game is pointless simply because it doesn't call for it. This isn't a Canada vs. the US sports outing, it's an MLB or NBA outing. It's the Blue Jays or Raptors vs. whatever team you root for that also happen to be based in America. When it comes to professional sports, we should be celebrating expansion beyond borders by erasing them rather than drawing them. Diversity is a wonderful thing, and any league that encourages this multicultural basket of athletes to make up a team ought to be embraced. Chanting "USA!" during professional sports games that are done - let's face it - mostly in arrogance towards the Canadian based team is mindless. It basically spits in the face of what we should be celebrating and something that is so beautiful. Rejecting this is baseless and disgusting. I'm sure it goes something like this:
Guy #1: "Man our team is losing and the Jays/Raptors are killing us!"
Guy#2: "Yeah man... what should we do?"
Guy#1: I don't know... um... uhh..uhhhhh...ummmmmUSA! USA! USA!"
So as a guy who was born, raised, and currently resides in the United States that is also a fan of the Blue Jays, Raptors, and Canada (GASP!), can we just stop this nonsense?
(Hey Canada, I may need asylum. I'll keep in touch.)
Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)