If you, like many Americans, invested an inordinate amount of emotional energy in Sunday evening's Super Bowl game, you were either crushed or elated by the New England Patriots' dramatic comeback win against the Atlanta Falcons.
But leave it to white nationalist Richard Spencer — the subject of countless Internet memes of him getting punched in the face on video over inauguration weekend — to take this investment to the extreme. As quarterback Tom Brady and the Pats erased a 28-3 Falcons lead, Spencer tweeted through the comeback, equating the New England team with the fortunes of President Donald Trump and white America as a whole:
When the Patriots finally emerged victorious, Richard Spencer framed the outcome as a victory for white people, and spent much of the evening trolling Atlanta, black Americans and making a gross (even by Spencer's standards) "Happy Birthday Trayvon Martin" barb. Martin, a young black boy, would have turned 22 on Sunday had George Zimmerman — a Sanford, Florida, neighborhood watchman – not shot and killed him when he was 17 in 2012.
Trump — the preferred presidential candidate of many white supremacists, including Spencer — has been public about his friendships with Tom Brady, Patriots coach Bill Belichik and owner Robert Kraft. In late 2015, Brady was filmed with Trump's signature "Make America Great Again" hat in his locker. Trump predicted a Patriots win in an interview with Fox News' Bill O'Reilly on Sunday, and tweeted his congratulations after the game:
Spencer was not alone in making these associations. Due to both their affiliations with Trump and their status among the most disliked and corrupt teams in the NFL, the Patriots were already an easy villain. When the Falcons lost, one could almost feel much of the United States south of Connecticut, west of Vermont and darker than French Vanilla deflating spiritually. Some even had flashbacks to the election.
But take heart, non-racist Pats fans. At least one Patriots player, tight end Martellus Bennett, has already opted not to make the traditional Super Bowl champs' journey to the White House to be greeted by the president. Bennett has been outspokenly anti-Trump on social media.
"It is what it is," he told reporters after the game, regarding not making the trip. "People know how I feel about it."
So it seems there are at least a few things a majority of Americans can agree on: they don't like the Pats, they don't like Trump and — judging by the popularity of his punching videos — they really, really don't like Richard Spencer.