It’s Not Easy Being Orange? Chicago Bears Accidentally Make Pro-Unionist Tweet on St. Patrick’s Day

© Sputnik ScreenshotA controversial graphic posted on Twitter by the Chicago Bears NFL team on St. Patrick's Day, March 17, 2022.
A controversial graphic posted on Twitter by the Chicago Bears NFL team on St. Patrick's Day, March 17, 2022. - Sputnik International, 1920, 17.03.2022
While the Irish Republic declared independence from the UK in 1919, the Protestant-majority region of Ulster remained loyal to the monarch and stayed under London’s control. However, guerrilla warfare between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland persisted until a peace deal was reached in the 1990s.
It was probably meant to be nothing more than a cheeky post about team rivals, but when the Chicago Bears professional football team dropped an animated tweet on Thursday morning about changing the color of the Chicago River, it became a barb of political factionalism.
Every year for St. Patrick’s Day, the feast day commemorating the death of Ireland’s patron saint, Irish and Irish descendants around the globe take to the streets to express some national pride in a country that resisted colonial domination by London for centuries. In Chicago, a US city that swelled with European immigrants in the 19th century and hosts one of the world’s largest St. Paddy’s Day celebrations, they do something a little extra.
That’s right, they dye the Chicago River fluorescent green.
How exactly green became associated with Irish Catholicism, which formed the backbone of the anti-colonial resistance movement in Ireland, is somewhat unclear. By contrast, Irish Protestants are represented by the color orange, thanks to the Orange Order, which was formed in the late 18th century to resist Irish independence and keep the island part of the Protestant British Empire. The two sides have exploded in violence more than once in the last two centuries, although some have managed to bridge the gap.
That’s why when the Chicago Bears decided on Thursday to make what was likely a swipe at their league rivals, the green-touting Green Bay Packers, it landed very differently than intended.
“That’s more like it,” the now-deleted tweet read, showing an animated speedboat zipping along the green Chicago River, turning the water orange in its wake. “Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Chicago!”
Big oops.
“Didn’t realize the Bears were Protestant,” one Twitter user remarked. “When the only Chicagoans on your social media team are Italians and Poles,” another joked, referring to two other large immigrant communities in the Windy City.
“The Chicago bears accidentally making an inflammatory, sectarian statement about Irish politics is maybe the funniest NFL team post since the Raiders Derek Chauvin post,” said another, referring to a tweet reading “I CAN BREATHE” that the Las Vegas Raiders team account posted after Chauvin’s April 2021 conviction for murdering George Floyd.
“The @ChicagoBears out here trying to get the Troubles started again,” another poster flatly stated, referring to a 30-year period of terrorism and urban guerrilla warfare between pro-independence Catholic and pro-Union Protestant groups in the UK’s Northern Ireland.
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