When Bryce Harper signed with the Philadelphia Phillies in March after a long free agency pursuit, it somehow escaped the notice of most Phillies fans that Harper’s NFL rooting interests are for the Philadelphia Eagles’ most hated rivals, the Dallas Cowboys.
Per The Inquisitr, a wave of news stories in early April found old quotes from Harper, who grew up in Las Vegas, in which he expressed support for the Cowboys. At times, during the years when Harper played for the Washington Nationals, his Cowboys fandom occasionally angered fans of the Washington Redskins.
In April, one Philadelphia sports radio show ran a Twitter poll asking if Harper should maintain his Cowboys fandom or switch to the Philadelphia Eagles. In the poll, 71 percent said he should pick the Eagles.
It appears the majority of the poll got their way, because this week Harper was indeed photographed in an Eagles shirt.
In a photo posted to Twitter over the weekend by local radio host Jack Fritz, Harper is wearing an Eagles shirt, while posing for a picture with two fans in what appears to be a large grocery store. This indicates that Harper didn’t wear the shirt to any type of official Eagles function, but rather for a casual day of grocery shopping.
There had been some indication that Harper was leaning in that direction, as Harper was handed a green Eagles jersey on a local TV special last month by Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz. Harper was also seating next to Wentz at a Philadelphia 76ers home game earlier this spring.
Harper’s no longer a Cowboys fan, confirmed. pic.twitter.com/PNp1K9WoBj— Jack Fritz (@JackFritzWIP) May 2, 2019
The episode raises some fascinating questions about athletes, fandom, and loyalty. Athletes come from all sorts of places, including foreign countries, and their rooting interests are unlikely to line up with the cities where they end up playing as professionals.
While fans of the Phillies and Eagles are likely happy that Harper has chosen to wear green instead of a silver star, some may ask what this says about his loyalty to the team that he’s presumably rooted on for his entire life. And should athletes who come from Philadelphia and go to play in other cities abandon their loyalty to Philadelphia teams and switch to the teams in their new city?
Then again, Harper has committed to play in Philadelphia for an unusually long period of time, 13 years, so it might behoove him to avoid the awkwardness of rooting for the wrong football team for all of those years.