Garth Brooks catches hell for wearing Lions jersey

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Forget about standing outside the fire.

Garth Brooks, unintentional as it was, jumped right into the bizarro inferno that is social media — all because he wore a Barry Sanders Lions jersey during his Ford Field concert last Saturday.

Detroit fans sure appreciated the local touch. The rest of the country, well, let's just say it went way over their head.

Garth Brooks performed at Ford Field on Feb. 22.

Given we're knee-deep into yet another super-charged presidential-election season, Brooks' jersey gesture was amazingly (or not-so amazingly) mistaken as some kind of an endorsement for Democratic front-runner Bernie Sanders. Barry Sanders' jersey number, of course, is 20, and it happens to be 2020.

And, so, the internet did what the internet does. It lost its freaking mind.

“I had no idea you were a big freaking liberal socialist,” one follower wrote on Brooks' Instagram post. “I’ve listened to your songs for the last time!”

Wrote another: “Love you, hate the shirt. Trump2020."

Brooks may have friends in low places, but apparently he's lost some on the right.

Meanwhile, some of Brooks' other followers got it.

"I'm just here to read all the comments of people unaware of who Barry Sanders is," wrote one of them.

The Lions and Sanders himself decided to have a little fun with all this.

Sanders, the Hall-of-Fame running back, tweeted at Brooks on Friday, saying, "Hey @garthbrooks, want to be my VP? #Number20for2020."

The Lions followed up with a Sanders-style campaign photo, saying, "He's got our vote."

The Lions created a "campaign poster" for Barry Sanders.

Brooks, the country-music mega-star, played a 130-minute set in front of more than 70,000 fans in what's been called the biggest concert in Ford Field's history. He said the jersey was a nod to his fellow Oklahoma State alum — Sanders was a football star there, of course, while Brooks ran track in college.

"The greatest player in NFL history, in my opinion," Brooks said Saturday. "It's an honor to wear his jersey tonight."

By the way, every seat at the concert sold for the same price, $94.95 — making it affordable to more than just the 1 percent.

Sanders would be proud. Perhaps both of them.

Twitter: @tonypaul1984