Taylor Heinicke started for just the second time in his NFL career Saturday night as the Washington Football Team’s quarterback against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but his performance was spectacular enough to earn him praise despite his team’s loss.
Heinicke started as the team’s quarterback after franchise quarterback Alex Smith suffered another injury and backup quarterback Dwayne Haskins was released from the team for violating COVID-19 protocols. Heinicke took his chance and ran with it, literally, rushing for 46 yards on six carries and securing one touchdown. He also had 306 passing yards, which yielded a touchdown and an interception, according to CBS Sports. After his stellar performance, the former XFL quarterback said he hoped to stay in Washington to continue his career.
But Heinicke’s performance meant nothing to those who seek to stamp out conservatives from the public space. In August, a post on Medium criticized Heinicke for supporting President Donald Trump and being a conservative critical of the Left. Highlighted tweets don’t show Heinicke engaging in any incitement or conspiracy theories, just general support for Trump and conservative principals like tens of millions of Americans, but that’s all it takes for Leftists to try to destroy someone.
“Heinicke, a known (Donald) Trump supporter’s feed, is filled with rightwing pro-MAGA tweets and liberal-bashing, especially over the turbulent last five months since the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. His likes show tweets criticizing protesters and rioters. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but everyone else is allowed to condemn a woefully ignorant view,” said the post on Medium. “The backlash from his condescension can be a teachable moment. As his tweets garnered more attention, Heinicke stood firm in his position, even calling for a ‘civil and educated convo.’ However, he wouldn’t listen to differing viewpoints in a back and forth with different Twitter users and was very defensive to being ‘canceled.’”
That’s it. That’s what they found on him.
The fantasy sports website Awesemo collected fan reactions, most of whom were random Twitter users, but did include Atlantic writer Jemele Hill, whose main schtick is claiming everything is racist.
Thankfully, it appears Heinicke may survive the attempted cancellation, as most articles from major news and sports outlets are focusing on his potential future in the NFL. ESPN, which has come under fire in recent years for injecting politics into sports, managed to publish an article about Heinicke that didn’t reference his tweets. Instead, the outlet centered on Heinicke’s performance and prospects.
“I deserve to be in this league a little longer,” the outlet reported Heinicke as saying. “I’ve been on the other side not playing and it’s not fun, not as fun as this.”
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes also tweeted support for Heinicke, a hopeful signal that merely supporting conservative ideas and criticizing the Left doesn’t mean the nail in the coffin for a talented player.