The Tua Tagovailoa Trump rally accusations explained

The Tua Tagovailoa Trump rally accusations explained

A media frenzy broke out over an image that purportedly showed a saved seat for popular Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa at a recent rally in Miami for former president Donald Trump. The only problem? It was fake. So how did the whole thing go down? Well, it all started with a tweet.

Clay Travis, the founder of the Fox-owned political and sports site OutKick, tweeted the photo and said, “Front row at the Donald Trump Miami rally tonight? Tua.” The image showed a line of chairs reserved for members of the Trump family, including Donald Trump Jr and Eric Trump.

Front row at the Donald Trump Miami rally tonight? Tua.

— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) July 9, 2024

He followed that up in a subtweet with, “I think you are about to see a tidal wave of pro athletes for Trump. Many have voted for him privately before. They’re sick of the woke bullshit. Sea change coming. ESPN’s about to lose its mind. Buckle up.”

The photo quickly went viral, with a number of right wing commentators amplifying it, including far-right conspiracy theorist Matt Wallace, who tweeted the photo and said “What name do you notice at the Miami Trump rally?”

However, the original image eventually surfaced, and it was clear that “Tua’s” seat was really just a seat for Trump’s youngest son Barron. That photo was tweeted by Henry Rodgers from The Daily Caller.

NEW- Barron Trump and most of the Trump family will be in attendance and sitting front row at Trump’s rally tonight in Miami: @DailyCaller

— Henry Rodgers (@henryrodgersdc) July 9, 2024

Barron was notably a smash hit when Trump introduced him at the rally and he stood up to raucous cheering. “Welcome to the scene, Barron,” Trump said proudly.

Perhaps the subterfuge was easier to believe because A. Trump was in Dolphins country and B. Trump and Tagovailoa have met before. Back in 2018 when Tagovailoa was the QB for the Alabama Crimson Tide and helped the team win the national championship, Trump showered the QB with praise and posed for a selfie.

He said that Tua’s game winning pass in overtime to DeVonta Smith “will go down as one of the most exciting finishes in college football history — of any sport.”

Rodgers notably called out the fake version of the photo and told the AFP that his photo was “legit. The other one is clearly an edited version of my pic.” Eventually Travis conceded that Tua “wasn’t there.”

Tagovailoa has not publicly endorsed Trump, or any candidate, for that matter. There has been some chatter, however, that Tagovailoa would make a good political candidate one day. USA Today reported that the young QB received at least one write-in vote for Tuscaloosa County’s special senate election in 2018. Democrat Doug Jones would eventually win that race.

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