As the Cuban national baseball team played their first-ever game in Miami Sunday night, Fox broadcaster Joe Davis acknowledged their oppressive government.
Team USA dominated Cuba 14-2 in the World Baseball Classic Sunday night, securing a spot in Tuesday’s championship game. But in the first inning of the broadcast on FS1, the lead baseball play-by-play voice for Fox cited Cuba’s political oppression.
“A lot of people were wondering how tonight would feel,” Davis said to broadcast partner John Smoltz. “There are more than 1.2 million people of Cuban heritage that live in the greater Miami area and the Cuban national team is playing in Miami for the first time, representing a country that loves baseball so much, but also, representing a still-oppressive Cuban government. So, for many Cuban Americans, there’s a mix of emotions tonight.”
The bold call out was brief enough not to summon too many in the “stick to sports” crowd, but necessary as the game was played in the heart of Little Havana, home to the largest population of Cuban exiles in the country.
Last year, during its World Cup coverage, Fox Sports was often accused of shilling for Qatar, failing to properly condemn the host country’s known labor abuses and human rights violations. With Cuba just being a participant in the WBC and not hosting the event, it was an easier task for Davis to cite their political oppression.
Although there were fans who celebrated Cuba’s first ever baseball game in Miami on Sunday, there was also a mix of protesters as the team’s oppressive government attempted to use the WBC to mask its oppression. Currently, more than 1,000 political prisoners remain jailed in Cuba for speaking out against its government, many of whom were arrested during a countrywide protest on July 11, 2021.
During Sunday’s WBC game in Miami, a protester stormed the field holding a “Libertad” sign (seen above), referencing those citizens who were arrested during the 2021 demonstrations. Other fans sat behind home plate and were seen on the FS1 broadcast holding a sign that read “Abajato Dictadura” in protest of Cuba’s dictatorship.
[FS1: photo from Sam Navarro/USA Today Sports]