Story updated below.
Milwaukee Brewers All-Star pitcher Josh Hader has apologized for a series of racist and homophobic tweets he sent in 2011 and 2012, when he was 17. One of the tweets said, “I hate gay people.”
“I was young, immature and stupid,” Hader, 24, said of the tweets, which surfaced as he was pitching in the eighth inning of Tuesday night’s All-Star Game in Washington, D.C., on national TV. “There is no excuse for that to happen.
“I’m deeply sorry for what I’ve said and what’s been going on. It doesn’t reflect any of my beliefs going on now. ...
“When you’re 17 years old you make stupid decisions and stupid mistakes. All I can do I just live up to what happened and move on from it. I’m ready for any consequences for what happened seven years ago. We all make mistakes. ... I was in high school. We’re still learning who we are in high school. You live and you learn. This mistake won’t happen again.”
After the tweets starting trending, Yahoo’s Jeff Passan said that “some members of Josh Hader’s family, wearing his All-Star replica jersey, have taken them off and been given generic jerseys without his name on the back.”
The offensive tweets were deleted and Hader’s account was set to private. But this all came after they were screencaptured. In addition to the “I hate gay people” one, there is one that references cocksucking and several of a racist bent, including KKK and the N-word. Hader said some of the references might have come from rap lyrics.
Dan Halem, chief legal officer for Major League Baseball, told the Los Angeles Times that the league would decide whether to issue a statement. At least one Brewers teammate has already accepted Hader’s immaturity defense.
Hader, who allowed four hits including a home run to Seattle’s Jean Segura, talked to Brewers teammate Lorenzo Cain, who is black, in the clubhouse after the NL’s 8-6 loss. Cain said he did not ask for an apology and simply wanted to understand the situation before speaking with reporters.
”We’ve all said crazy stuff growing up, even when we’re 17, 18 years old,” Cain said. “If we could follow each other around with a recorder every day, I’m sure we all said some dumb stuff. Basically, we’re going to move on from this. He said it. It’s over with. It’s done with.”
It is unclear if MLB will or can discipline Hader for something he said before he became an employee. In 2017, baseball suspended Matt Joyce and Kevin Pillar each two games for homophobic comments made during games.
I can’t speak to Hader’s racist tweets, but I can give him somewhat of a pass for the homophobic ones since many people who say anti-gay things in high school change their minds once they mature and come to know LGBT people. I hope Hader does more than simply issue a statement, though, and can demonstrate his views truly have changed.
Update: MLB has ordered Hader to take sensitivity training.
MLB issued the following statement:
”During last night’s game we became aware of Mr. Hader’s unacceptable social media comments in years past and have since been in communication with the Brewers regarding our shared concerns. After the game, Mr. Hader took the necessary step of expressing remorse for his highly offensive and hurtful language, which fails to represent the values of our game and our expectations for all those who are a part of it. The Office of the Commissioner will require sensitivity training for Mr. Hader and participation in MLB’s diversity and inclusion initiatives.”
The Brewers also weighed in:
“His comments are inexcusable, and he is taking full responsibility for the consequences of his actions,” the statement read. “Those of us that have come to know Josh do not believe that these posts are representative of his beliefs. He has been a good teammate and contributor to the team in every way. We will continue to work through this issue with Josh as we prepare to resume games after the break.”
A good start with Hader in terms of his gay comments is to meet with former MLB player Billy Bean and former Brewers prospect David Denson, both of who are gay.