The next thing they knew, Eruzione said, Trump was introducing them at the rally and a campaign aide was handing them the caps as they took the stage. Four of the former players chose not to wear them — but 10 others did, prompting a huge backlash on social media from Trump’s critics, who view the distinctive red campaign hats as sharply politicized symbols of hate, racism and xenophobia.
“You going to light into me, too? We’re getting killed!” Eruzione said in an interview. Now serving as the director of special outreach at his alma mater, Boston University, Eruzione said he has received angry calls and messages from the school’s alumni. One said he purchased Eruzione’s new book about the 1980 team but no longer intends to read it. His Twitter mentions are a nightmare.
One message read: “In 1980, you beat the Russians, and yesterday the Russians beat you.”
“If we knew we were going to piss off this many people, we probably would not have put the hats on,” said Eruzione, 65, who served as the team’s captain and scored the game-winning goal against the Soviet team. “That’s the big question here. A lot of the stuff I got was, ‘You guys said it’s not political, but when you put the hats on, you made it political.’ ”