“And ne’er shall the sons of Columbia be slaves, while the earth bears a plant, or the sea roll its waves.”

The entire quote above by Robert Treat Paine was meant to accompany the overheads for the San Jose Ultras’ tifo honoring our country and our troops for the Independence Day celebration hosted by the San Jose Earthquakes today. However, that was not to be as the Earthquakes FO, completely ignoring the context, deemed the word “slaves” to be too offensive and would not approve the message in its entirety.

We wanted this tifo to recall the roots of the holiday. We do not consider the Fourth of July to be an excuse to get drunk, bbq, and light off fireworks. It is a day to celebrate our hard fought independence from tyranny. The imagery and quote were carefully selected to evoke the spirit of 1776 and to honor the men and women of our armed forces who continue to defend our country with strength and honor in the tradition of the early minutemen.

We spent weeks and thousands of our own dollars putting this tifo together to treat such an important holiday with the respect and gravitas that it deserves. It’s obvious that the message of the tifo is liberty – the antithesis of slavery, and it’s laughably ironic and pathetic that the Earthquakes FO would censor a patriotic tifo over some utterly baseless fear of offending someone. Offending who? People who are pro-slavery? Though we find it sickening and obscene that the FO was content to become an example of what this tifo is against, we are certainly not surprised that their cluelessness has stained another Stanford derby.

With the team facing a challenging and crucial run of matches in the near future, there couldn’t be a worse time to pick a fight with us. The team needs this nonsense like it needs to be in last place.

We hope the Earthquakes FO is satisfied with the blemish across our message banner being preserved for posterity as a symbol of their ineptitude and cowardice.

Happy Fourth of July!
– San Jose Ultras