Garth Brooks unintentionally upset a number of his fans who happen to be supporters of President Trump.

Following a concert at Detroit’s Ford Field last weekend in front of more than 70,000 fans, the country music star jumped on Instagram to thank everyone for coming out to the show. The photo shows Brooks adorned with a No. 20 jersey to honor Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders, who played his entire 10-year career for the Detroit Lions. But Brooks has been a fan of Sanders dating back to his days as a stand-out at Oklahoma State University, which happens to be the singer’s alma mater.

“I was lucky enough to be an athlete and to wear the same uniform as this guy wore in college,” Brooks told his fans during the concert. “You guys got the greatest player in NFL history in my opinion in this jersey. I love this man … it’s an honor to wear this jersey.”

But many of Brooks’ fans saw the singer donning the Sanders jersey and assumed it meant “Sanders ’20,” and that the country music star was endorsing Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

“Love you, hate the shirt. Trump2020,” one fan wrote. Another wrote, “Weird. That a millionaire would like a socialist. Hey Garth are you going to distribute your millions?”

“Good grief,” another follower wrote, “Can’t you just do what you get paid to do ???? Why why why does it have to involve politics !!!”


Brooks has gone out of his way to be inclusive and apolitical during his long and celebrated career as a country music star — New Yorker writer Ian Crouch once described his philosophy as “big-tent idealism—cheesy and vague, to be sure, but sincerely and exuberantly expressed.” But Brooks has endured some bumps along the way.

Back in 2017, many fans were upset when Brooks declined an invitation to perform during Trump’s inauguration, despite having sung during Barack Obama’s 2008 inauguration eight years earlier. He also visited Obama in the Oval Office and praised him ahead of the 2012 campaign, saying, “I love him to death and I fully support him and I just wish him well because it’s got to be hell in that office.”

Brooks explained his decision during a Facebook Live chat in 2017, telling fans Trump’s inauguration date conflicted with a sold-out show in Cincinnati.

“We can’t thank the Obamas enough for serving this country,” Brooks said. “And may God hold Trump’s hand in the decisions that he makes in this country’s name as well.”

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