Mariano Rivera had a message Wednesday for the journalist who wrote a hit piece on him before he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame Sunday.
The Panamanian-American professional athlete played on the Yankees for 19 seasons as a pitcher. Freelance journalist Robert Silverman wrote a Daily Beast opinion piece published Sunday on Rivera, labeling his politics as “far-right” because of his Christian faith and friendship with President Donald Trump.
Rivera said on “Fox & Friends” Wednesday the article “won’t change his position.”
Silverman alleged that Rivera has “served at the pleasure of a racist president” and “gotten chummy with outright bigots and apocalyptic loons.”
“You have the power to say whatever you wanna say,” Rivera said. “That won’t change my position. That won’t change my belief.”
Rivera also talked about his friendship with Trump, saying he won’t turn his back on the president and he believes “he is doing the best for the United States of America.” (RELATED: Ilhan Omar To Introduce Resolution Supporting BDS)
“I’ll tell you what, I mean, Mr. President … Trump, to me, he was a friend of mine before he became the president, OK?” Rivera said Wednesday. “So, I mean, because he’s president, I will turn my back on him? No, I respect him. I respect what he does. I believe that he is doing the best for the United States of America. I’m his friend.”
The Daily Beast piece said that “for countless fans, Rivera is baseball royalty.” Silverman listed allegations against Rivera:
And over the past three years, he’s also served at the pleasure of a racist president, taken part in thinly veiled propaganda on behalf of a far-right government in Israel, and gotten chummy with outright bigots and apocalyptic loons. None of this will be inscribed on his Hall of Fame plaque. It should, even if much of the sports world would very much like to pretend none of it exists.
The article described Rivera’s friendship with “openly extremist and Islamophobic Israel backer: Pastor John Hagee” and Rivera’s return to Israel in 2018. “Beyond Rivera’s pro-Israel activism, even though he’s never publicly given his endorsement, the Hall of Famer’s actions make it clear his sympathies lie with the Trump administration,” the article said, adding:
Little in-depth coverage of Rivera and Israel exists outside of the Israeli media and a few right-wing blogs. It certainly won’t be mentioned in the run-up to his Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Why would it? His status as a universally-beloved Yankee means a reporter would have to risk running afoul of not just an editor or two, but gobs of angry readers.
“As a Christian … my savior Jesus Christ — he’s a Jew. So how I gonna turn my back and say, ‘I won’t support Israel’?” Rivera said Wednesday.
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