This past week, the San Francisco Giants won their second World Series in the past three years and their second since moving to San Francisco in 1958. As a resident of the Bay Area, I can understand the emotion behind their wins and accomplishments in this fantastic season. One thing that people cannot understand, though, is the actions of star relief pitcher Sergio Romo.
During the World Series parade in San Francisco this past Wednesday, Sergio Romo was celebrating with his teammates and the fans just as any ecstatic player should. What really captivated the public’s eye, however, was the shirt that Romo was wearing. Romo wore a shirt with a message on the front reading “I just look illegal.” Born in Brawley, California, he is neither an immigrant now illegal, so what were Romo’s intentions when he got up Wednesday morning and put on that shirt?
Obviously with the upcoming election, immigration reform is a huge topic among the Presidential campaign and among others considering the controversial positions involving immigration, both illegal and legal. Sergio Romo was obviously taking a stand for immigrant rights, and against the animosity aimed at the Mexican-American community in the United States.
Sergio Romo is definitely seen as a joker, as i obvious in the National League Championship Series when he photo-bombed Matt Cain during an interview. Like this, his shirt was meant to be a joke, but with an underlying serious message. He is a successful man, with two immigrant parents, so he is an inspiration for immigrant children. Not to be taken too seriously, the man was just trying to portray a social equality message via a satirical t-shirt. Because the parade is a huge deal involving the media, and it attracted over one million fans, was Romo’s manner of “speaking out” effective?
I personally think it’s effective when celebrities or famous persons put a (usually humorous) twist on serious political or social issues. I completely agree with Romo’s actions, especially since he got so much exposure from the recent winning. However, I do believe there is a fine line as to how far someone can go just to make a political/social statement. Romo however did not cross this line. His actions were effective and definitely thought provoking during a time when perhaps immigration wasn’t everybody’s minds.
I believe Romo’s actions are very powerful but not unseen in other celebrities. Many athletes voice their endorsements of politicians publicly and even donate to campaigns. Athletes and other celebrities have great reach among many people who are in their personal fan bases. This allows many politicians to use celebrities to further their campaign. For example, in this election I have seen President Obama use: Jay-Z, Victor Cruz, Alicia Keys, and Bruce Springsteen.
I really admire Sergio Romo for wearing this shirt. I think it’s a bold statement to make, especially at the World Series Parade. I completely agree that It was humorous, and not meant to offend anybody, which is why I think it was so effective. Baseball fans everywhere were watching, which brings much needed attention to the issue of immigration in a context where it doesn’t usually get mentioned. He may not have said a lot and the shirt may been light hearted and funny, but its gotten people talking about immigration. Definitely effective!
I believe that as a celebrity and being apart of an iconic baseball team, Romo has both the power and is obliged to deliver social and political messages. He ingeniously took advantage of a momentous moment to deliver a very potent message.