I first ran across the story of Josh Hader during Major League Baseball’s All Star Game. I read the tweets he made as a 17-year-old, and I read his subsequent apology.
While I looked at Hader side-eyed (and still do, by the way), I reluctantly accepted his apology on behalf of black people, gays, and other people he managed to offend – even if what he got as punishment amounted to a slap on the wrist. I figured while was indeed a racist, homophobic asshole at 17, I had to give him SOMEWHAT the benefit of the doubt that maybe Hader had evolved into a better person.
After all he quickly apologized to his black teammates, and one of them openly came to his defense. I questioned that black teammate for showing blind loyalty, with a hint of naivete, but again, I gave everyone involved the benefit of the doubt.
The sight of fans giving a dude who once made VERY hateful remarks towards blacks and the LGBTQ community led to a very different reaction from me. Anger. Shock. Then anger again.
I get fans showing blind loyalty to a player with a questionable past. We see it all the time. But giving this dude a standing ovation was, to me, seen as a reward for being a racist, homophobic asshole. I’ll go a bit further and say that those fans should be ashamed of themselves for doing so.
I mean, what does that say about the fans in (and the city of) Milwaukee? Ya think seeing those cops beat up on the NBA Bucks’ Sterling Brown, and the comments made to him while doing so, was a mere accident? Think Giannis Antetokounmpo will remember all this when he becomes a free agent in a few years?
And what about the black and LGBTQ fans who were in attendance? Could you imagine who they may have felt during that standing ovation?
Let’s go back to the earlier “he was only a kid and immature” argument for a minute.
Do those fans think Michael Vick should have gotten the same treatment as Hader? After all, Vick was young and immature at the time. What about Oregon State pitcher Luke Heimlich? Gotta give him the same love as Hader, RIGHT?
And before y’all bitch about this, yes Vick and Heimlich did ACTUALLY commit crimes, but what both they AND Hader did were VERY disgusting. So to the fans who showed that level of love to Vick and Heimlich, shame on them as well.
Goes to show that certain segments of the population would show outrage at any heinous act a player commits, just as long as it’s not racism. After all, racism does not affect all – if not most – people. And in case some of you are thinking I’m being too sensitive, check out these reactions to the Brewers fans:
And, what is perhaps my favorite tweet on the Brewers fans’ reaction…
So there you have it. No matter what year it is, and how educated we are, if a player (and other celebrities) commits a heinous act that doesn’t affect the greater population, no one cares. Period.
As far as Hader himself, I hope other young people (hell, anyone for that matter) learn a valuable lesson from this. What you say in social media will follow your ass for the rest of your life…