A Major League Baseball star has issued an apology after racist and homophobic comments he’d previously made on Twitter resurfaced and sparked major backlash online.
Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Josh Hader, 24, apologized early Wednesday morning in a news conference, following his first All-Star Game in Washington, D.C.’s Nationals Park, according to USA Today. Hader, a Maryland native who made his professional debut a little over one year ago after being drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in 2012, published the tweets when he was 17 years old, he explained.
“As a child, I was immature, and I 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 continued.
Hader’s tweets contained a number of offensive statements. “White power lol” he wrote in one tweet; he wrote “KKK” in another, according to USA Today. Another tweet read “I hate gay people.” Others contained racial slurs, USA Today reports.
The tweets began circulating online during Tuesday’s game. Hader found out about the controversy after he returned to the National League clubhouse after the game.
“Just came in, and my phone was blowing up,” he explained, adding that “there's no excuse for what was said.”
“I’m deeply sorry for what I’ve said and what’s been going on, and like I said, it doesn’t reflect any of my beliefs going on now,” he continued.
The tweets survived because he never deleted them, Hader explained to reporters.
He repeatedly referenced being “young,” “immature,” and “stupid” when he wrote the inflammatory tweets. While he admitted that he doesn’t know exactly “what’s all out there,” he claimed that some of the controversial tweets may have been rap lyrics.
Hader stated that he would like to move on from the situation, but is willing to accept the repercussions of his actions, explaining, “I’m ready for any consequences that happen for what happened seven years ago.”
Following the controversy, Hader has deleted his Twitter account.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the MLB called Hader’s comments “unacceptable” and added that his “highly offensive and hurtful language” does not represent “the values of our game and our expectations for all those who are a part of it.”
The Office of the Commissioner will be requiring Hader to undergo sensitivity training, the statement continued, as well as participation in MLB's diversity and inclusion initiatives.
[Photo: Josh Hader during a MLB game between the Washington Nationals and the Milwaukee Brewers on July 25, 2017 in Washington D.C. By Tony Quinn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images]