All 18 players of the professional softball team Scrap Yard Fast Pitch (Scrap Yard FP) quit Monday night after the team’s general manager tweeted at President Donald Trump, showcasing that the players stood during the national anthem. The players have now formed a new team.
On Monday, Texas-based Scrap Yard FP faced off against The USSSA Pride in Melbourne, Fla., in what was supposed to be the first of a seven-game series. During the game, the Scrap Yard FP Twitter account posted a now-deleted photo of the players standing for the national anthem along with the text: “Hey @realDonaldTrump Pro Fastpitch being played live … Everyone standing for the FLAG!” The tweet was written by the team’s general manager Connie May, according to social media posts from the players.
The New York Times reports that the players were surprised to hear about the post after returning to their locker room after the game. Many of the players (more than half of whom are supposed to play in the delayed 2021 Tokyo Olympics per ESPN) began posting on social media that they were not consulted about the tweet, that it did not represent their beliefs and stressed that they support the Black Lives Matter movement.
“I am so hurt, Never in my entire playing career or even life have I ever been so hurt,” tweeted Kiki Stokes, a Black player on the team. “[To] come into that locker room after a game and have no idea that the organization I stayed loyal to for the last 5 years and put my honest to God heart and soul into wasn’t looking for me but more importantly my community hurts.”
I am so hurt but Hate and Ignorance will never win. pic.twitter.com/81tV29G4HH
— Kiki Stokes (@KStokes10) June 23, 2020
“I will not be spoken for. I will not stand by the actions of Connie May & what she wrote on Scrap Yard FP twitter account,” Taylor Edwards, another Scrap Yard FP player, tweeted. “This was done during our game without our knowledge but most importantly during a time we as American women wanted to show HOPE & SHINE LIGHT during the uncertain time.”
By the end of the night, all 18 players had quit the team, per the Times. Scrap Yard Fast Pitch did not respond to TIME’s request for comment.
We might be standing in this photo but we SURE AS HELL AREN’T STANDING FOR THIS. I’m embarrassed. I’m heartbroken. I’m DISGUSTED. @ScrapYardFP I will never be associated with your organization again. BLACK LIVES MATTER. The tone deafness on this is UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!!! pic.twitter.com/5jSNipTFLd
— Haylie McCleney (@hayliemac8) June 23, 2020
Tonight we were misrepresented by Connie May who acted on behalf of @ScrapYardFP I’m appalled by the insentivity & will not represent Scrap Yard ever again. I’m so sorry to all my friends & teammates and the future softball players that are hurt by this. pic.twitter.com/39B1CaO9uh
— Aubree Munro Watson (@Aubree_Munro1) June 23, 2020
— Riley Sartain-Vaughan (@rileysartain) June 23, 2020
Trump has repeatedly criticized athletes who kneel during the national anthem, a demonstration started by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2016 to protest systemic racism and police brutality.
On Friday, the former Scrap Yard FP players announced that they had reformed into a new independent team called This Is Us Softball, which they say will exist for the remainder of the season. This Is Us Softball includes all 18 former players from Scrap Yard FP, ESPN reports.
— Taylor Edwards (@TayEdwards212) June 26, 2020
“This Is Us Softball is a group formed in June 2020 of 18 professional fastpitch softball athletes from all across the United States,” the team’s website says. “When these athletes were unfairly spoken for in a way that was insensitive to the current climate in America, they decided to walk away from their former professional team, and move forward as an independent unit.”
The website says the players are using their “resources to get back on the softball field for the 2020 summer season, and to continue playing the game they love, while also using their platforms to raise awareness, empower young women and unite the softball community.”
This Is Us.
Monday night changed our lives. But these athletes have decided it will change our lives for the better. We all will use our voice to raise awareness, empower others, and unite the softball community.
This Is Us. pic.twitter.com/LPKQZtWw45
— Jade Hewitt (@JadeHewittMedia) June 25, 2020
“We are here to spark a necessary change in the softball community, gaining and sharing knowledge about racial injustice in our world,” the team’s website says. “We are here to encourage our community to love, accept, and confidently stand up for themselves, those around them, and the Black community.”
This Is Us Softball is playing USSSA Pride Saturday night in Viera, Fla., and the game will stream live. The team will also hold a panel afterwards to answer questions and discuss the formation of the team.