Fans give baseball star Josh Hader a standing ovation after ‘I hate gay people’, ‘white power’ tweet controversy
A major league baseball player who sent a slew of homophobic and racist tweets as a teenager received a standing ovation from fans on Sunday as he returned to the pitch.
Josh Hader, the 24-year-old pitcher for the Milwaukee Brewers, faced anger last Tuesday when his “racist and homophobic” Twitter history emerged while he was busy playing in the 2018 Major League Baseball All-Star Game.
In messages dating from 2011 to 2012, he wrote “I hate gay people, “Gay people freak me out”, “white power”, the N-word, and several allusions to the KKK. The messages were sent when he was 17 and 18.
The player was allowed to continue playing after he apologised and agreed to attend “sensitivity training”.
He made his return to the Milwaukee Brewers team on Saturday, and was loudly cheered by fans at the Miller Park stadium.
Hader was given a standing ovation by much of the crowd as his name was called out.
— Scott Pudwell (@pudwellphoto) July 22, 2018
The applause has been challenged online – with some taking it as proof that fans don’t care about his homophobic and racist past.
Major League Baseball previously released a statement revealing that Hader will be required to undergo “sensitivity training”.
A MLB spokesperson said: “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 Milwaukee Brewers said: “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 full responsibility for the consequences of his actions. In no way do these 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 of the team in every way.
“We will continue to work through the issue with Josh as we prepare to resume games after the break.”
Speaking on Tuesday, Hader had said: “”I was 17 years old, and as a child I was immature, and obviously I said some things that were inexcusable. That doesn’t reflect on who I am as a person today. That’s just what it is.
“Obviously, when you’re a kid, you just tweet what’s on your mind.
“There’s no excuse for what was said… I’m deeply sorry for what I’ve said and what’s been going on. That doesn’t reflect any of my beliefs.”
He added: “Being 17 years old you make stupid decisions and mistakes.
“I’m ready for any consequences that happen for what happened seven years ago.
“Like I said before, I was young, immature and stupid, and there’s no excuses for what was said and what happened.”
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Teammate Lorenzo Cain added: “We all say crazy stuff when we’re young, that’s one reason why I don’t have social media, because you always get in trouble for it.
“But we’ll move on from it – he’s a great guy and a great teammate.”
Cain said that everyone should attempt to “move on” and “focus on playing baseball”.
Hader has now locked down his Twitter account entirely.