Country musician Travis Tritt announced this week he was canceling shows in Indiana, Mississippi, Illinois, and Kentucky over COVID-19 mandates, joining other prominent entertainers such as Eric Clapton and Van Morrison in protesting rules designed to curb the spread of a virus that has killed more than 700,000 Americans and nearly 5 million people around the world. In August, Tritt released a statement claiming COVID-19 safety protocols were “discriminating” against concertgoers and said that he stood with those standing up against “the squelching of any specific freedoms and basic human rights around the world.”
But he was fine about singing the national anthem before Game 6 of the NL Championship Series on Saturday night, because sportsball isn’t real life to some people, or something.
Travis Tritt hates this photo, which is why we’re using it [Twitter screenshot]
Conversely, pop singer Ed Sheeran announced on his official Instagram page that he has tested positive for COVID and will be self-isolating. Sheeran didn’t mention whether he was vaccinated in his post or whether or not he would be able to perform on “Saturday Night Live” on November 6th. But in July he joined James Corden for a segment on “The Late Late Show with James Corden” where the two changed the lyrics of Sheeran’s hit song, “Shape of You,” with phrases about getting a Covid-19 vaccine: “Modera or Pfizer will do, You’ll be good after jab number two, but wait two weeks for it to take effect.”
Back in Atlanta and wearing a Braves jersey to honor the home team and eventual NLCS champs (sidebar: I was watching the NLCS in 1999 when the Braves last won, and I remember the heartbreak of that World Series, guys), Travis “Instablocker” Tritt received a smattering of applause when he was announced as a “country music legend.”
Freddie Freeman prayed he wouldn't die from Covid & begged every single person to get the vaccine. He's the unquestioned leader & icon for the Atlanta Braves.
How do they honor him?
— The Jewish Ginger Resister (@JewishResister) October 24, 2021
There was a problem with Tritt’s microphone, in that he had one in the first place, but unfortunately, a worker quickly handed him a backup mic that allowed him to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” without any further issues. After bellowing out the final words, Tritt patted his heart to a slightly louder round of applause from the crowd. He lingered a bit in the prime seats behind home plate, bumping fists, shaking hands, and chatting up the largely mask-less fans. Tritt is a native of suburban Marietta, not far from the Braves’ stadium, Truist Park, which has allowed full capacity most of the season with no requirements for vaccinations, negative tests, or mask-wearing from fans. [Writer’s disclosure: I lived in Georgia for eight years, including in Marietta, and this is on-brand for Georgia, is all I’ll say]
“Travis Tritt cancels tour because of COVID mandates” 🧐😅 pic.twitter.com/zJkazQBZHJ
— William LeGate (@williamlegate) October 20, 2021
At least one good thing came out of Tritt’s appearance (aside from the glorious attempts from Twitter users to get Tritt to block them): Braves outfielder Jorge Soler said he has reconsidered his initial reluctance to get the vaccine. Soler tested positive for COVID-19 before Game 4 of the NLDS and was removed from the Braves’ roster. He had no symptoms and was able to return for Game 5 against the Dodgers.
Travis Tritt didn't block me and I feel like a complete failure
— John Lurie (@lurie_john) October 21, 2021
“I feel way different now,” Soler said through a translator. “I feel bad about it, and I’m going to get a shot as soon as I can.”