Josh Hader addresses the tweets that surfaced during the game pic.twitter.com/Zzh6uS2frH— Ryan Fagan (@ryanfagan) July 18, 2018
Josh Hader of the Milwaukee Brewers found himself in hot water after some old, racist tweets resurfaced during the All-Star Game Tuesday night.
After pitching a critical home run to the Mariners’ Jean Segura, Hader faced a firestorm back in the clubhouse where he was rushed by reporters questioning him about the disturbing tweets from his past, USA Today reports.
Some of the posts he wrote included:
“White power lol”
“N-----bot? The [expletive]! That just made my night! Smh”
“I hate gay people.”
Most of the tweets were posted between 2011 and 2012, when Hader was 17 years old and had not yet become the MLB athlete we know today.
Hader is now 24 and defended himself in an apology for the tweets by insisting that they do not reflect his current beliefs and he was just “young, immature, and stupid” at the time.
“There’s no excuse for what was said,” Hader said. “I’m deeply sorry for what I’ve said, and it doesn’t reflect any of my beliefs going on now. I was young, immature, and stupid, and there’s no excuses for what was said or what happened.”
During the interview, as reporters hammered Hader with questions about why the tweets were posted and never deleted, the athlete repeatedly downplayed the severity of the situation by referring to it as “what happened seven years ago.”
“As a child, I was immature and obviously said some things that were inexcusable. That doesn’t reflect on who I am as a person today, and that’s just what it is,” he said. “We’re still learning who we are in high school. You live and you learn. This mistake won’t happen again.”
Then, he went on to suggest that some of his tweets were actually from songs.
“I’m sure it’s some rap lyrics being tweeted. I really don’t know exactly what all’s out there,” he said.
Hader’s African-American teammate Lorenzo Cain backed his colleague, noting that he believes in giving second chances.
“When anybody does something like that, you’re always surprised,” said Cain. “At the end of the day, you’ve got to give people a second chance, you understand you have to forgive people, move on from it. For me, it’s over and done with. He said it; it got out there. I’m moving on from it individually, anyway.”
Soon after the drama ensued, Hader made his Twitter account private.
“That’s one reason why I don’t have social media, for things like this,” Cain noted. “You always get in trouble for things you said when you’re younger.”
Prominent activist and journalist Shaun King was not impressed with Hader’s response to the controversy as he pointed out that not all of his inappropriate tweets are seven years old. Some of his posts are allegedly from 2016, which is much more recent.
Nah man.— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) July 18, 2018
Some of those tweets weren't 7 years old.
Some genuinely awful tweets were written in 2016. https://t.co/Vkto9zuCMn
It is likely that Hader's entire response was crafted by a team of public relations officials who specialize in damage control. The fact that he never once thought about combing through his social media and removing the offensive posts, even after being drafted into the MLB, suggests that it wasn't important enough to him to right these wrongs, and now they have come back to bite him.
Regardless of whether or not Hader's views have actually changed, it's important to note that hate is not a symptom of immaturity, it stems from ignorance. There are plenty of immature 17-year-olds in the world who still know better than to post racist and homophobic messages on the internet.