Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Jose De Jesus Ortiz: Fowler doesn't back away from comments on Trump travel ban

JUPITER — If the detractors hoped to silence Dexter Fowler with their opposition to his remarks over the weekend, they were as misguided as their narrow-minded views.

Fowler has been active on social media so long, he wasn't even surprised by some of the hate he received after telling ESPN how President Donald Trump's proposed travel ban affected his wife's Iranian family.

Fowler, who is married to an Iranian immigrant, never meant to make a political statement or criticize Trump on Saturday. He merely described Trump's proposed travel ban of seven Muslim-majority countries as "unfortunate."

The Cardinals' new centerfielder gave a candid answer at a time when we need more understanding and less silence.

"The question was asked out of empathy toward my family," he said Monday. "I appreciate that. If anybody is asking about my family, then I'm going to let them know. Obviously it affected my family. My wife's Iranian."

Fowler's wife, Aliya, emigrated from Iran with her parents when she was 5 years old. She's a U.S. citizen, but her grandparents and extended family still live in Iran.

Fowler's comments on the travel ban elicited an array of responses, and many of the nastiest comments were posted on the "St. Louis Cardinals True Fans" Facebook page.

Fowler acknowledged his detractors on Twitter.

"Welp," Fowler wrote on Twitter on Sunday. "Since I have a nice little chunk of people who hate me cuz I have an opinion, I'm going to do a nice giveaway for the good people."

When others would have lashed out, Fowler showed his character and taught us all a lesson by responding to the hate with kindness.

He also didn't apologize for acknowledging how the proposed travel ban would affect his wife and their daughter, Naya, 3.

"I'm always going to care for my family," he said. "If a question is asked out of concern, I'm going to answer the question. I'm going to answer it truthfully. It's not hurt anybody.

"It's my perspective. It's unfortunate that people think of things like that way. I believe they're sensitive. I'm not the sensitive one."

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