When social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram hit critical mass, I was already in my late 30s/early 40s with a wife, career, etc. As such, I had the presence of mind to be judicious in what I posted on those various sites. My philosophy was one of not posting something which I wasn't willing to back up if questioned about it in person.
This is becoming more relevant today as millennials are starting to enter the workforce. While I certainly did and said a lot of incredibly dumb and insensitive things in my youth, I thankfully didn't have the wherewithal to leave a digital footprint behind. Unfortunately, the same can not be said of 20-somethings today, particularly those entering high profile professions such as the entertainment industry, politics, professional sports, etc.
A certain MLB relief pitcher learned this the hard way.
Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Josh Hader will be required to take sensitivity training and participate in the league's diversity and inclusion initiatives after tweets from his past emerged during Tuesday's All-Star Game.
After a bumpy outing in his first All-Star appearance, some racist and anti-gay tweets that Hader sent when he was a teenager surfaced. He apologized after the game.
"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," Major League Baseball said in a statement Wednesday. "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 issued a statement Wednesday, admonishing the pitcher for the tweets, but adding that they don't represent who Hader has become.
"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."
You can view screen grabs of Hader's old tweets here.
I'll admit to you that I was shocked and appalled at reading those posts from 6-7 years ago. But at the same time I'm not sure what will be accomplished by Hader partaking in "sensitivity training" other than MLB attempting to stem the tide of bad public relations. After all, the Brewers organization vouches for the now 24-year old Hader by indicating he does not at all resemble the impudent, immature youth who posted such gross content. If Hader had even a scintilla of the mindset he possessed six years earlier, I imagine he was scared straight by all the negative publicity he received Tuesday evening if not before then.
I'm sure a young man like Hader is willing to whatever he can to clear his name, so he likely didn't strenuously object to MLB's directive. If nothing else, this serves as a cautionary tale for today's youth.