The Supreme Court’s declaration that same-sex marriage was constitutional triggered widespread jubilation across the United States on Friday, as millions of people took to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to show their support. This enthusiasm was matched by numerous brands, such as Chipotle and Target, who used cleverly produced tweets to trumpet their position on Twitter.
The response from the country’s sports teams, by contrast, were relatively muted. Of the 122 teams in the four major American professional sports leagues—the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL—only five explicitly mentioned Friday’s ruling as of 7:30 pm Eastern time last night. Three—baseball’s San Francisco Giants, football’s San Francisco 49ers, and basketball’s Golden State Warriors—hail from the famously progressive Bay Area, while the other two (the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers and Sacramento Kings) play elsewhere in blue-state California.
In fairness, social media isn’t the only arena in which sports teams interact with their community, and several have expressed support for gay rights in other ways. The Seattle Mariners, for example, will fly a rainbow flag during their game against the Chicago Cubs on Sunday. But the silence of so many teams on Friday was nonetheless striking. Why is the professional sports world so slow to embrace a social change favored by a large majority of Americans?