One Alabama fan’s comments have raised some eyebrows over his concern about the “language barrier” between Hawaiian quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and his teammates. A user by the name of Chattown Tider wanted to “address the elephant in the room” on the Alabama sports site BamaOnline.com, wondering “how his transition to the States has been as far as communication goes”.
As Hawaii is one of the fifty states, inaugurated in 1959, the residents most certainly speak English.
Ben Reiter, senior writer at Sports Illustrated, noticed the comment and posted a screenshot to Twitter:
Alabama has a freshman quarterback from Hawaii, and at least one fan is concerned pic.twitter.com/uKxTpVz1hm
— Ben Reiter (@BenReiter) September 13, 2017
“I haven’t heard it mention, so I thought I would address the elephant in the room. He seems like a smart kid, so I’m wandering how his transition to the states has been as far as communication goes? Are we doing anything different like special playbooks or relying on signals more when he’s in the game? I thought I saw him point to receivers a couple of times and defenses might catch on if he’s pointing to who he’s going to throw the ball to. The only time I’ve been out of the country is when I was shipped to Nam and I was as confused as a yankee leaning to square dance.”
The commenter seemed concerned for Tagovailoa’s English-speaking abilities in the sense that he didn’t want the opposing team to understand any physical cues he may or may not be giving to teammates, as that could cost them the game. Additionally, the commenter appears to empathize with Tagovailoa’s “situation”, as he relates the quarterback’s experience of being a “foreigner” to his own when he fought in the Vietnam War.
Netizens’ reactions to the comment spanned the gamut between amused and outraged.
It’s not the southern accents that give ‘Bama a bad rep. It’s racism like this that gives it a bad rep.
— PeopleSaveAmerica (@PeopleSaveAmer1) September 13, 2017
“transition to the states”? Ugh! Translation: What the F is wrong with you?
— BklynLatina (@BklynBornLatina) September 13, 2017
Not surprising. My wife hears similar things about being from NEW Mexico.
— Travis Fulkerson (@soonertravis) September 13, 2017
His native language is English which might cause a language barrier in Alabama.
— Tom Stephenson (@tcstephenson1) September 13, 2017
— Tyler Langenfeld (@TylerLangenfeld) September 13, 2017
But Hawaii is a part of the United Stat…
Nevermind. Thank you for service, Chattown. pic.twitter.com/EK1XP67dWW
— Ikeyo (@Ikeyo_1985) September 13, 2017
Word eventually reached Tagovailoa, who seemed to laugh off the ignorant comment:
— Tua Tagovailoa (@Tuaamann_) September 13, 2017
What do you think? Really racist or hilariously harmless? Let us know in the comments!
Feature Image via Twitter / Tuaamann_