San Diego Padres third baseman Manny Machado is mostly known for both his flashy defense and his ability to drive in runners with his bat. On Wednesday, he made headlines for a different reason.
In a photo posted to Twitter by KUSI-TV in San Diego, Machado was seen smiling in sunglasses and a T-shirt during the Padres’ spring training in Arizona.
Adorning the shirt in big, bold letters was the phrase “Let’s Go Brandon.”
Padres superstar Manny Machado repping a “Let’s Go Brandon” shirt at Spring Training. pic.twitter.com/9l451zRBy0
— KUSI News (@KUSINews) March 24, 2022
The phrase first gained popularity in the sports world, but it was on the track instead of the diamond. After NASCAR driver Brandon Brown won an Xfinity Series race in Talladega, Alabama, he was speaking to NBC Sports Network reporter Kelly Stavast.
Fans in the background began chanting “F*** Joe Biden” to express frustration with the president, but Stavast had a different interpretation.
“As you can hear, the chants from the crowd: ‘Let’s go, Brandon,'” she said.
Following this interview, the phrase “Let’s Go Brandon” was widely adopted by conservatives as a way to criticize Biden without having to use expletives.
With his shirt, Machado appeared to be expressing the same sentiment, and many Twitter users praised the five-time All-Star for it.
“Manny Machado is the only man who can save Major League Baseball,” conservative author Nick Adams wrote.
Manny Machado is the only man who can save Major League Baseball. pic.twitter.com/PuIOAZK1av
— Nick Adams (@NickAdamsinUSA) March 23, 2022
Other users said they had a newfound appreciation for the 29-year-old from Miami after the picture surfaced.
Manny Machado just became my favorite Padre. Sorry Tatis pic.twitter.com/zYiZY3KAIb
— DVMin98 (@dvmin98) March 23, 2022
I was a big fan since his orioles days. Now I’m a super fan and he just became my favorite player!!!!
— Marklocone (@marklocone) March 24, 2022
I’m a Manny Machado fan now. https://t.co/B5chxFRLDS
— Chuck Richter (@ChuckRichter70) March 24, 2022
I’m wearing his Orioles jersey to bed.
— Decay Constant (@decay_constant) March 24, 2022
Not everyone was pleased with the shirt, though.
Can’t get over manny machado wearing that shirt. There’s political differences but that phrase is aligned with tr*mp and his delusional, white supremacy loving, domestic terrorist cult.
Sadly, a lot of padre fans are embracing this cuz they also believe in an alternate reality
— Tony Cornejo (@TCorn760) March 23, 2022
Cool another reason to dislike Manny Machado
— Bonesy0221 (@Justin43383131) March 24, 2022
Politics has been a divisive subject in sports and everywhere else, and many athletes have chosen to avoid talking about it.
For better or worse, Manny Machado is wearing his political opinions on his sleeve — or, more accurately, across his chest.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.