SportsPulse: MLB insider Bob Nightengale details the league's reaction to Josh Hader's tweets and the dangers of social media that have plagued athletes. USA TODAY
Major League Baseball and the Milwaukee Brewers condemned relief pitcher Josh Hader for offensive tweets he sent as a teenager, with the club noting that Hader is “aware of the severity of the situation related to his social media comments, regardless of the timeline of his posts.”
MLB said in a statement that Hader will be required to participate in sensitivity training and MLB’s diversity and inclusion initiatives. He will not be suspended.
Hader, 24, pitched in his first All-Star Game on Tuesday night, giving up a go-ahead three-run home run to Seattle Mariners shortstop Jean Segura. Shortly thereafter, Twitter users dug up a slew of offensive posts from 2011 and 2012, ranging from racist to homophobic to misogynistic and threatening.
Hader returned to the clubhouse after his outing and became aware of the outrage online. His Twitter account was placed in private mode and by Wednesday, deleted altogether.
Following the American League’s 8-6 victory, Hader faced reporters and apologized for his tweets, later discussing them with Brewers teammate Lorenzo Cain, who is African American.
“There’s no excuse for what was said. I’m deeply sorry for what I’ve said, and it doesn’t reflect any of my beliefs going on now,” Hader said.
MLB has in recent years reacted quickly to insensitive behavior, suspending Kevin Pillar of the Toronto Blue Jays accepted a two-game suspension in May 2017 after directing an anti-gay slur toward an opposing pitcher.
“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,” MLB said in a statement. “ 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.”
Said Brewers general manager David Stearns: “We have been in contact with Josh and he is fully aware of the severity of the situation related to his social media comments, regardless of the timeline of his posts. His comments are inexcusable and he is taking responsibility for his actions. In no way do those sentiments reflect the views of the Brewers organization or our community.
“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.”
Hader and the Brewers, who are in second place in the NL Central, start the second half of the season Friday at home against the Los Angeles Dodgers.