Mike Eruzione, the captain of the 1980 Miracle on Ice U.S. national hockey team, explained why they donned “Keep America Great” hats while attending a rally for President Donald Trump during its 40th anniversary weekend.
And he was surprised it drew such blowback, noting if they could do it over, they would.
“If we knew we were going to piss off this many people, we probably would not have put the hats on,” Eruzione, 65, told the Washington Post. “That’s the big question here. A lot of the stuff I got was, ‘You guys said it’s not political, but when you put the hats on, you made it political.’ ”
Eruzione scored the winning goal against the Soviets, making him a hero along with the rest of the national team, but he’s now receiving scores of angry messages.
Trump invited Miracle team to rally for photo
The group, which defeated the Soviets en route to a surprise gold at their home Lake Placid Olympics, was in Las Vegas over the weekend to celebrate the anniversary of the historic game. The rally was not in their initial plans, Eruzione told the Post.
But Trump’s people called and asked if they wanted to appear for a photo. Afterward, he said, Trump asked them to join him onstage. And as they went on, staffers handed over hats to wear.
“What are you going to say?” Eruzione said. “To us it was, ‘Sure.’ ”
When he was handed the red hat, he said, “I just put it on. I wasn’t thinking. Maybe this shows I’m naive, shows I’m stupid. I don’t know. I don’t follow politics. I know he’s had some issues and said a lot of things people don’t like.”
Eruzione told the Post he voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and Trump in 2016. He once appeared on “Celebrity Apprentice” and is a member of Trump’s golf club in Florida, per the Post.
Four of the 14 former players chose not to wear the hats. But it’s hard to notice it in the photos the team shared on its Twitter page with “The name on the front is more important than the name on the back.”
That’s what drew a lot of ire as well.
Eruzione: People think Miracle team is a disgrace
Eruzione shared with the Post some of the tweets he received about the hats and appearance with Trump.
He’s also getting angry calls and messages from school alumni at his job as director of special outreach at his alma mater, Boston University.
“I told my wife, ‘People think we are a disgrace.’ ”
The Miracle on Ice team is not the first to get slammed for wearing Trump’s rally caps, which first started with “Make America Great Again” in the 2016 election cycle.
Washington Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki wore a red “MAGA” hat to the team’s celebration at the White House and accepted an awkward hug from the president. UFC fighter Colby Covington has donned the hats and pledged his allegiance to Trump.
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