The Cincinnati Cyclones hockey team finds itself at the center of controversy and criticism after apologizing for a video that some interpreted as a tacit nod to the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot.
The minor league ECHL team, known for its spirited online presence, shared the now-deleted video on Tuesday featuring forward Justin Vaive on the ice bathed in red light and wearing a red jersey.
The caption, “We don’t care, we paint the town red (on January 6),” sparked immediate speculation, drawing connections to the tumultuous events at the U.S. Capitol in 2021.
Social media users, including WNBA team Chicago Sky’s social media coordinator Connor Moore, expressed their astonishment and criticism. Moore’s tweet, “Paint the town WHAT on WHEN?!?!” gained particular attention, fueling the growing controversy.
By Wednesday, the Cyclones took down the video and issued a public apology on social media, explaining that the post was intended to promote their upcoming Throwback Night, featuring retro-inspired jerseys traditionally held on the first weekend of January. The team emphasized that it was not a political statement.
However, the apology itself became a point of contention, with some accusing the team of caving in to “cancel culture.” Tweets like “@Nati_Sports” asserted, “Stop issuing apologies for cancel culture.
It’s exhausting.” Others, like “@thebengalorian,” defended the team, calling the backlash “lame” and urging people to “grow up.”
Several users ridiculed the situation, with one stating, “LOL losers bullied them into an apology for not considering January 6 a national date of remembrance.”
Another expressed disappointment, wishing the video had endorsed former President Trump.
As the social media debate rages on, the Cincinnati Cyclones find themselves navigating a delicate balance between public perception and expressing team spirit, raising questions about the blurred lines between sports, politics, and online discourse.